Apparently anybody who’s a somebody in Dubai has been to the ultra-chic ‘tous célèbres ici’ French/Mediterranean gourmet restaurant La Petite Maison – at least that’s what I was told before I arrived. “You have to try La Petite Maison” “It’s a Dubai-Must” and well luck had it that I ended up there for one of my recent work trips.
For those of you who are not familiar, this top-notch spot started off at Old Nice in France and has a very popular branch in London. The place embodies the gastronomic spirit of the Côte d’Azur and neighboring Liguria.
Before I take you on my little culinary orgasm journey let me tell you about my delightful encounter with the as-French-cliché -as-they-come waiter who greeted me at the bar. I asked him for a glass of wine and a vodka 7up for my friend. He looked like I just swore at him.
Waiter(with the heaviest French accent I’ve heard in Dubai): “Darling, come on, wine? Really? Our specialty are cocktails, let me do something special for you, filled with love, with wine I just open z bottle and poooor z wine where is the fun there huh?”
Moi: (Giggle)“No really I’d like some wine”
We went back and forth around 3 times. He finally handed me the wine to his obvious dismay.
Waiter (with most disgusted look I’ve seen in Dubai): “ Fine, you have wine. But there is not that 7up in zis place okii? Really, no 7up”
Moi:“Just give me the closest thing to 7up”
He hands me Vodka- something and goes on to ignore me for the rest of the evening. The experience wouldn’t have been complete had he not done so. Almost as though he had been planted my management to do exactly that.
The place was jam-packed and it was only a Tuesday. We were seated on a roundtable with a couple of tomatoes, a lemon and a bottle of olive oil in the center.
We started things off with a fresh and crisp dish salad called Taboulet de Quinoa Salad which I thoroughly enjoyed; it had a very light barely-there dressing that allowed the quinoa to stand out.
The Carpacio de Boeuf was one of the best I’ve had in a long time, it’s basically cured sirloin with this magnificent pickle dressing.
But the appetizer that stole my heart was the Burrata et Tomates a marvelous fresh Italian cheese, somewhere between a mozzarella and one of the richest creams you will encounter. It fell apart as soon as it came into contact with my spoon and felt like velvet in my mouth. I wanted to hold onto it just a little while longer before the moment was over.
We also tried the Salad of Green Lentils and Calamars Frits which were quite spicy, both were was nothing out of the ordinary but added that Mediterranean touch the place promised.
And now for the fun part, the main course, I sunk my fangs into a the succulent dish of Côte de Veau Grillée (grilled veal chops) which were astoundingly tender with a no-fuss marination or sauce- not even a side dish- just right to the point. And with veal like that, that’s really all you need.
I also got to try the Coquelet au Citron Confit, a slow roasted baby chicken with lemon and it was as succulent as promised. I’m not a big fan of chicken but this was not your average bird.
And finally the Ziti with black truffles in a very light creamy sauce, and although I usually like my pastas drowned in juices, there was something about the subtle yet thick cream that made this dish just as good for me. I recommend you go for this one as a side dish but never as a main course, you’d miss out on so much more.
And of course no French meal is complete without Pain Perdu and Crème Brulée. I lost myself in the warm Pain Perdu that came with spice cinnamon-like ice cream. It was fulfilling in ways I just can’t describe. Really, I can’t. We also washed it all down with some Coconut, Pineapple-Mint, Raspberry, Passion Fruit ice cream.
Aside from the one arrogant French man, I most definitely recommend you experience La Petite Maison on your next visit to Dubai, just don’t order 7up and be prepared to splurge. Rumor has it that it may even open it’s doors in Beirut soon.
UPDATE: La Petite Maison is opening soon at Le Vendôme Beirut, I wonder if it’ll be as good?
Craving French cuisine in Beirut? Try my favorite dishes at Couqley