La Dame de Pic London
The Four Seasons, 10 Trinity Square, EC3N 4AJ
WLC Rank : 18
Glass from : £ 7.50 (125 ml)
BEST FORWines of the Rhône and Château Latour
Pristine, umami-rich cooking by Anne-Sophie Pic
Soaring pillars in the spacious dining room
The expertise of Jan Konetzki
“Healed from the trauma of lockdown, we continue to serve French ‘je ne sais quoi’ with splashes of excitement from sake, cocktails and cutting-edge wine matches with Anne-Sophie Pic’s unique cooking,” says wine guru, Jan Konetki.
The soaring ceilings and intricate lattices of Anne-Sophie Pic’s London restaurant are best appreciated with Rare Rosé Champagne in hand, poured by head sommelier, Martyna Pawliczek. Under these adornments in an otherwise minimalist room, Pic collects and marries distinctive spices, herbs, coffee and tea in her unique, elegant dishes.
Her core, multi-generation, family-run restaurant being located in a garden at Valence at the heart of the Rhône corridor, it seemed natural for Lüneburg-born, Jan Konetzki, wine director of 10 Trinity Square and ambassador for Artemis domaines, to focus on wines stemming from the mighty river’s banks at the two Michelin-starred London sequel, located on the banks of another historic river – the Thames. Crucially, these are now subject to temptingly “sexy pricing,” and served only in Zaalto stemware, says Konetzki.
“A vast map of the river unfolded in my mind,” says Konetzki. “From the glaciers to the Mediterranean sea, there is so much to discover to help us own the Rhône crown for the UK.” Konetzki extols the diversity of what may be reaped, “from the entry-level amazing value Jacquère and Chasselas from the banks of Lake Geneva which can easily replace a Chablis, to world-class, blue-chip Jean-Louis Chave Cuvée Cathelin Hermitage.” Annually, Konetzki likes to show more modest renditions from big names, such as an older year of Coudoulet from Château de Beaucastel. “There is life beside the grand names!”
As well as offering plentiful Rhônes, Konetzki highlights vinous “Cousins” on his nicely-paced list, hence one “glamorous cousin of the Northern Rhône” is Penfolds Grange, “inspired by the great Hermitage hill of the Rhône.”
Although the list is clean-cut and helpful enough for diners to decide what wine they would like to enjoy unassisted – “a sommelier fairy dies when a guest prefers not to speak to a sommelier,” jokes Konetzki – his team are always on hand to help find the perfect match for a dish. They can also offer eye-opening experiments, too, such as a tasting of wine in a half bottle versus sometimes very boldly illustrated magnum, “there being more intensity from a magnum, which is a slow burner.”
Dishes, inspired by Pic and realised by newly-appointed head chef, Marc Mantovani, who rose the ranks of Maison Pic, may include signature starters of hat-like “berlingots” pasta parcels, possibly filled with soft Baron Bigod cheese from Sussex, foie gras dry-aged in beeswax shown first at the table under a glass cloche, then poached in mushroom consommé, and Scottish grouse marinated with Batak berries and whisky, served with a parsnip purée and chestnut. The bread and malt-enriched butter is arguably London’s best, too.
Meanwhile, Anne-Sophie Pic’s interest in cocktails sees a reinvigorated bar as well as a rising focus on novel spirit pairings. “We took on a new eau-de-vie producer from the Lake District,” notes Konetzki. “They distil the fruits of 1,000-year-old apple trees and make a crazy framboise, as well as an after-dinner chestnut barrel-aged gin.”
Although initially intended as an albeit upmarket brasserie, the elevated, celebrated cooking has attracted “gourmet tourists” and high profile collaborations, such as the four hands event with both Anne-Sophie Pic and Core’s Clare Smyth with whom Konetzki used to work at Royal Hospital Road, as well as the Chinese New Year banquet with the neighbouring Mei Ume.
By Douglas Blyde.