It was noon when we stepped through the French doors of La Dame de Pic - and 4.30pm when we tumble out again, half-delirious with gastronomic bliss. We're one of the last guests from the lunch seating to leave, but our marathon of a multi-course meal - one staff happily tells us - is not uncommon.
On one memorable occasion, one man lingered over lunch, drank his way through cocktail hour … and decided he might as well stay for dinner too.
All this is to say that three-Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic's French restaurant has the enchantment of a different world - one that can easily charm you for hours on end.
Set in Raffles Hotel Singapore , the light-filled space feels like a graceful ballroom with its arched mirrors and colossal brass chandelier. The palette of blush pinks and plums is expressly feminine, set off by bunches of peonies and a pink rose on each table.
But all this is outshone when our food starts to arrive, each dish as exquisitely plated as an autumn garden in miniature.
Seasonal set menus are the order of the day at La Dame de Pic, with her latest Autumn menu available till the end of the year.
Crafted by new Chef de Cuisine and Pic protege Francesco Di Marzio, the six-course Experience Menu ($248++ per pax) and seven-course Elegance Menu ($338++ per pax) balance French flair with Asian flavours in surprising ways.
The drink pairings (from $158++), curated by sommelier Justin Wee, reflect this fusion with a mix of sakes and French wines spotlighting Madame Pic's birthplace: The Rhône Valley.
We start off our Elegance menu with not one but three amuse-bouches, each a work of art in its own right.
There're cherry bonbons that pop on the tongue like chocolate bubbles, letting loose a heady burst of cherry juice, Campari, and sake.
Next follows a pebble-sized brioche, so cleverly powdered with matcha that it evokes a stone dug fresh from its plated "soil".
Rounding off the trio is a striking honeycomb cracker dusted with paprika and spinach powder, alongside a kueh pie tee oozing cognac yoghurt and sweet Gambero Rosso prawns.
We actually gasp when the Sea Urchin from Hokkaido lands on our table.
This sweet sable tartelette comes carved in a gorgeous crescent curve, and dressed like a colourful garden with dollops of nutty sobacha cream, zesty sudachi, nori jelly - and of course, creamy Hokkaido uni.
The whole thing harmonizes like a symphony in the mouth, and it's even better paired with one of Justin's sake finds: The Yamamoto Midnight Blue Junmai Ginjo, a rare bottling with ripe rockmelon notes.
Come autumn, matsutake mushrooms are one of Japan's most prized delicacies, and we get to taste the season's first fruits in the Matsutake Mushroom.
Cooked en papillote, this gem is meaty, woodsy, and soaked in gingery mushroom consomme. Coffee and mushroom might sound like strange bedfellows, but here, a surprising splash of Bourbon Pointu coffee sabayon helps accent the mushroom's nutty flavours beautifully.
Somewhat more baffling is the accompanying coffee waffle - it's delicious in itself, but doesn't seem to gel with the other textures in the broth.
In Berlingots , we get a reprise of Anne-Sophie Pic's signature pyramid-shaped, matcha-infused pasta modelled after her favourite childhood candy.
Stuffed with light French cheese fondue, each satisfying morsel comes bathed in herbaceous dashi and finished with smoked leek.
Fittingly, this nostalgic dish comes paired with a private-label wine, born of a long friendship between the Pic and Chapoutier families: The Anne-Sophic Pic & Michel Chapoutier Saint-Peray "Lieu-Dit Payrolles" 2016.
This Rhône white has a mineral backbone rounded with tropical fruits, chiming nicely with the herbal dashi.
Taking the fusional flair up a notch, The Blue Lobster from Brittany is an inspired medley of three cuisines.
The broth here mixes up three liquids you'd never think to mix: Crustacean bisque, genmaicha, and Madras curry.
Yet somehow, it works - the umami stock of blue lobster shell, deepened by the roasty genmaicha and rich curry spice, blends into a deep and almost coffee-like concoction.
Floating in the bisque is a yuzu-infused bed of koshihikari rice, laid with the dish's crown jewel: Blue lobster seared over binchotan to smoky perfection.
Our pick for the meat dish is The Pigeon from Bresse - because where else would you get to tuck into pigeon in Singapore?
Our cut of bloodred pigeon breast is firm and mild, smoked with sobacha for nutty depth. We can't stop spooning up the drizzle of pigeon jus either - it's infused with Bourbon Pointu that gives the meat a bitter-savoury edge.
Between the amuse-bouches, bread basket, and generously-sized courses, we're stuffed at this point. But how can we resist the cheese trolley when it's wheeled out, bearing a parade of funky, fragrant Curated Cheeses ($38)?
If you're a blue cheese lover, get a slice of Bleu d'Auvergne and Fourme d'Ambert; otherwise, don't miss out on the nutty, earthy beauty of a 30-months-aged Comte.
The dessert selection includes new creations like the Tulakalum Chocolate.
This showstopper features a graceful pair of crescent curves: One of green pepper panna cotta with a surprising kick, and the other of peppermint mousse brightened with shiso, both liberally adorned with chocolate mousse and cubes of chocolate cake.
The fruity option, Williams Pear and White Tea is just as jaw-dropping.
Think luscious slices of caramelized Reine de Reinettes apple in tarte tatin style and chestnut flower honey mousse, arranged to mimic a glossy apple.
To pair, we're back in the Rhône Valley with a dessert wine by Monsieur Chapoutier - a silky Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise 2018 with a mandarin orange sweetness.
The Autumn menu will evolve to include seasonal white truffle in mid-October and black truffle in December, along with nods to the upcoming festive season.
If you're up for a four-hour feast for the senses, trust La Dame to make it an unforgettable one.
La Dame de Pic is located at Grand Lobby, Raffles Singapore, 1 Beach Rd, Singapore 189673, p. +65 6337 1886. Open Tues 6.30pm-8.45pm, Wed-Sat 12pm-1.45pm & 6.30pm-8.45pm. Closed Sun & Mon.
This article was first published in City Nomads.