La Petite Maison, or LPM as it’s more commonly known, has held one of the top spots on Dubai’s dining scene for the best part of a decade. The unassuming restaurant tucked away in a corner of DIFC is simple and gimmick-free, yet it pulls crowds of suited and booted business-types for post-work drinks as effortlessly as it fills tables with the city’s style-set.
In the Instagram era, building a hype around a restaurant isn’t particularly noteworthy, but retaining it is a different story. Newcomers are often full of covers for the first month, until the next place to see and be seen comes along. So how does a place like LPM keep us coming back for more?
Mirroring the French menu, the space has a Mediterranean vibe, with beige chairs, dark wood flooring and white walls. Tables are topped with starched table cloths, and finished with a handful of tomatoes and a lemon – the waiter pointed out that these are to eat with our meal rather than for decoration, but they definitely serve as both. The only thing that breaks away from the theme is the assortment of modern art, which although isn’t to our taste, adds a pop of colour to the room.
Food is brought to the table as soon as it’s ready, so it’s best to choose a few dishes to share. We opted for the burrata with tomatoes and basil – a must-order at every Mediterranean restaurant – along with the yellowtail carpaccio with pickled peppers and aubergine. These dishes proved to work well together as sharing starters, due to the creamy texture of the burrata and the fresh flavour of the yellowtail. The carpaccio didn’t have the sharp citrus marinade that we’d expect, however the mild balance of the dish let the flavour of the yellowtail come through.
For the main event we tried the grilled rib-eye steak, served medium, which was deliciously charred on the outside and extremely smooth in the middle. Although one main dish and a few sides would have been enough between two people following the quite generous portions of the starters, we also ordered the salt baked fillet of line caught sea bass with artichokes and tomatoes, as it had been recommended by a friend – it didn’t disappoint.
Our waiter told us that if we were going to order dessert, it really should be the French toast with spice ice cream. The sweet has become one of the restaurants most-loved dishes, and for good reason. The spongy “French toast” is light and syrupy, which works beautifully with the mildly spiced ice-cream.
As we ate our meal and looked around the room, it became clear why LPM is so popular. Not only does the food live up to its high-end reputation, but there’s a buzz to the whole place. The dining area was awash with celebrations, while the bar remained lively throughout the night. We’ll certainly be going back.