Restaurant Review: La Petite Maison, DIFC
Location: Gate Village 8, DIFC, Dubai
Tel: 04 439 0505
Dress code: Smart-casual
Times: 12pm to 3pm, 7pm to 11pm, daily
Since opening its doors in 2010, the laidback luxe of La Petite Maison has earned it a legion of fans, and rightly so. Yes, it may be a place to see and be seen, but it’s also a destination of substance. Food, very much, comes first.
The original LPM quickly gained recognition when it opened in Nice in the late 1990s and its formula for success, fine dining and service with a chic but relaxed ambience, has translated well to Dubai’s foodie scene.
Like its European predecessor, the restaurant serves up delicious Nicoise cuisine using only the freshest ingredients, many flown in from Europe to ensure their authenticity, such as the delicious fresh tomatoes and olive oil set on every table to be devoured whilst the menu is perused.
That attention to detail, and to taste, is present throughout the lengthy menu of small and large plates, all designed to be shared. Top tip – the bigger your crowd, the more plates you’ll get to try, so this is definitely a great place to consider when planning a group celebration.
Given there were only two of us, we tried to resist over ordering – a truly tough task. Having made short work of the aforementioned tomatoes, we tucked into a small but perfectly formed plate of warm prawns with olive oil, the lemony tang of the oil so moreish it demanded mopping up with the bread basket’s rustic baguette. The delicate shellfish were followed quickly with a portion of salt cod croquettes, which were crisp and flavourful, and proved the perfect pairing for a tangy, caper-spiked, oven roasted pepper relish – delicious.
Moving onto mains, we continued the citrus vibe with baby chicken confit marinated in lemon, a deliciously tender piece of poultry with an intensely savoury brown skin that had us quickly reaching for more. However, the undoubted star of the show was the restaurant’s renowned dish of grilled lamb cutlets with smoked aubergine, an impressive plate of four chops, perfectly charred on the outside and quiveringly pink inside, with a spoon of rich, pine nut dotted aubergine puree and tiny dried tomatoes which packed a serious punch of flavour. Declared “the most delicious lamb I’ve ever tasted” by my dining partner, it was the undisputed highlight of the universally delicious savoury courses and a dish which would single-handedly convince us to return. Special mention must also go to an outrageously creamy and cheese heavy gratinated potato side dish, which managed to make us feel guilty for serving seconds, despite sitting alongside a bulging dish of somewhat healthier French beans.
Guilty perhaps, but not enough to forgo dessert, and thank goodness, for LPM’s cheesecake really does live up to the hype. Rich yet still light, with a thin and crisp base, served alongside a sweet but tart mixed berry compote, it was a delicious end to an exceptional meal that proved, despite its accolades, La Petite Maison won’t rest on its laurels.
On that basis, we reckon this favourite is destined to remain at the forefront of Dubai’s dining scene for a long time to come – and we couldn’t be happier. Vive la France!
60 seconds with general manager Cedric Toussaint
What makes a perfect restaurant experience?
Great food, ambience and service
How does dining here compare to France?
Dubai has an excellent reputation for the diversity and quality of its restaurant scene – I think it’s a more luxurious and sophisticated dining experience
What three words do you think sum up La Petite Maison?
Class, quality and service
What’s your favourite item from the menu?
Lentil salad – a great healthy option
Has managing a restaurant impacted on the way you eat at home?
I definitely eat healthier, better quality food
How often do you cook for yourself and what was the last meal you made?
As soon as I am home, twice a week, I’m in the kitchen
What’s in your private fridge at the moment?
Butternut squash – I love it in salad or risotto
What’s you culinary guilty pleasure?
Lemon tart with meringue