La Petite Maison
Dubai; When I heard that the Nice-borne restaurant La Petite Maison had opened an eaterie in Dubai, FooDiva had to check it out. Famed for its Nicoise cuisine, and its signature salad of the same name, La Petite Maison has locations in London, Moscow and Nice of course. Located at DIFC’s Gate Village, the French restaurant has been brought over to our Arabian shores, by the same gentleman responsible for one of Dubai’s most popular and successful Japanese venues, Zuma. With that in mind, FooDiva’s expectations were set high. Let’s see if they delivered.
With an 8.30pm reservation in hand last night, my guest and I rocked up at the bar at 8 for a pre-dinner drink. Decor is very French, belle epoque brasserie style with high ceilings – warm and welcoming. The barman of his own initiative offered to recommend wines by the glass, well trained on selling for sure!
Promptly at 8.30pm we were escorted to our table, a banquette, as requested. Menus and wine list were provided, and chunky white and whole grain baguette slices offered.
La Petite Maison’s concept is that dishes are served from the open plan kitchen as and when they are ready, with the idea of sharing. There are a staggering 22 ‘hors d’oeuvres’ to choose from, plus another 17 ‘plats principaux’ and five side dishes!
We asked the very knowledgeable maitre d’ for recommendations and after much mulling over, settled for sardines with grapes, tomatoes and capers and thinly sliced octopus in lemon oil, followed by grilled lamb cutlets with smoked aubergine, and salt baked fillet of line-caught sea bass with artichokes and tomatoes.
Our side dishes were green beans, baked gratinated potatoes and naturellement french fries.
All dishes were mouth-watering in their own individual way; the sweetness of the grapes offset the saltiness of the sardines, and it was nice to see octopus sliced slightly thicker than its carpaccio counterparts at other Dubai restaurants. The smoked aubergine accompanying the lamb was reminiscent of a very fine moutabel, whilst the sea bass fillet was simply melt-in-your-mouth – clearly the salt bake did the trick. We both commented on the tomatoes that featured in three of the dishes…simply sweet and delicious. The french fries were thickly cut and well cooked. Portions were reasonable, some larger than others. By spacing out the dishes, diners have time to savour and digest. So much so, we still had room for dessert; in our case crème brûlée, and a fine apple tart. I’ve never been a huge crème brûlée fan, but this dish was served with a caramel crisp that we both devoured in seconds, and I even managed to eat some of the cream with the vanilla clearly evident.
The apple tart’s filo pastry was fresh and crispy, the apples caramelised to perfection, and the vanilla ice-cream smooth.
Our waiter was French, as were plenty of others. Service was impeccable, without being obtrusive. Atmosphere was electric, the restaurant completely full with Dubai’s multi-cultural diners including three separate birthday celebrations, and getting ready to turn over another seating.
Quality does not come cheap. Our dinner for two complete with two cocktails, four glasses of wine (white and red, French of course), one glass of Muscat and one bottle of Evian equated to AED 1,343 including so-called 10% DIFC tax. It is expensive, but well worth every dirham. Good news is that both starters and main courses come at a diverse range of prices, helpful if you’re on a tight budget. I do hope La Petite Maison keeps the quality and the service up, unlike so many Dubai restaurants that fail to deliver after the first few months.
It most certainly will be ‘à bientôt’ for FooDiva, and I hope for you too. If not already, La Petite Maison should be on everyone’s restaurant wish list.