Reviews

The snails & sirloin at La Petite Maison, DIFC

The obvious downside to waking up at 11.30am is that you have missed breakfast. If you linger more on that thought, you may plonk back on to the pillow and disgrace your mom some more. The motivation then is the prospect of a good, hearty lunch. And that is exactly how we left our bed last Saturday to try one of those DIFC hot-spots for a memorable lunch.

La Petite Maison was targeted purely considering the hype I was subjected to, ever since I landed in Dubai. Because of that very reason, I stepped into the restaurant with an open mind. I was not “prepared” to be impressed nor “ready” to be bowled over. The last time hype took me to a trendy dining spot in Wafi, I was extremely disappointed. This time though, I’m pleased to say that I had a much better culinary experience.

Let’s begin with the usuals – ambience – white. Lots and lots of natural light. Photographer’s dreamland. White wooden panel works, almost seeming like marbled walls. Friendly banter mingled with extreme professionalism at the bar. Elegant and proactive service at the table. Cutleries – well. For the image they are maintaining, La Petite Maison can definitely do away with some of their scratched and troubled plates. I dare say it’s time for them to roll out some new ones that would do better justice to their dishes.

The bread basket gave us the options of French baguette and multi-grain bread. These came in superbly handy when I started enjoying my starter – Snails in Garlic Butter, going by the name of Escargots de Bourgogne in the menu. This dish was my leap-of-faith for the year. Actually, scratch that. I’ve had crocodile, eel and frog meat this year. So make it, leap-of-faith for the month. The dish was a powerhouse of flavors. It came on a Staub cast iron dish of 6 holes. On each, sat a gorgeous looking shell, topped with green herbs, with buttery juices oozing out from it. Placed along side, was a steel instrument which could have been mistaken for a scissors or an eye-lash curler depending on how drunk you are. Here is a snippet of the conversation that ensued.

The server: “Enjoy your dish madam.”
Me (stunned & embarrassed): “I’d love to. But I just don’t know HOW to!”
The server (smiling politely): “Let me show you madam.”
Me: (In tears of relief and gratitude.) Ok, I’m exaggerating now.

Anyhow, he showed me how to enjoy my snails. I pick them with the tongs provided, gently knock them on my plate for the filling to fall off, and further prod for the remaining meat, with the two-teethed fork. A splendid, cracker of a starter, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The bread was smartly used here to mop up all the divine juices on my plate.

The husband had ordered the Beef Carpaccio as his starter. It was a lightly cured sirloin with a pickle dressing that looked almost as good as my snails. Thin slivers of the sirloin was paired perfectly with the dressing that hoisted the true taste of the meat to another level. It was indeed a well-made, sophisticated dish.

The mains were more difficult for us to finalize on. There were too many good-looking items in the menu, unfortunately with not as good-looking prices. #CheapskateAlert

In the end, after much deliberation, I settled for the Slow cooked Guinea Fowl with pasta, rocket and comte. The man with me went for the Whole sea bream baked en papillote with lemon, herbs & olive oil.

The fish came first, knocking us off our seats. It was big and brilliantly marinated. I managed to get a picture before they took it away to de-bone it. Unfortunately, when it came back, the marinade was just two small dollops. The fish was well cooked, but there could have been more of the marinade to give it that needed punch of flavors.

As for my pasta, it was my first time with guinea fowl (surprise surprise) and I was not sure what to expect. But as it turned out, the meat resembled chicken and was unquestionably enjoyable. The pasta texture was more chewy than normal, the gravy it lay on was lipsmackingly good and the pieces of red bell peppers (or was it something fancier?) was a joyride on the palate.

Honestly, one starter and one main per person is where you should call it quits. But since that’s an offence to the Dessert Goddesses, we ordered two desserts. That’s right folks. Not one, TWO. Food comma was closing in on us, galloping on a white horse.

Chocolate Delice with raspberries and madeleine. The perfect dessert for a chocolate- raspberry lover. As there is plenty of both in every spoonful, and every spoonful goes a long way to erase any question of calories in your mind. It is deadly, divine and impossible not to devour!

The biggest surprise of the afternoon came in the form of Vanilla Crème brulee. It was a taken for granted dessert, afterall, what could they possibly do magical about a crème brulee?!

Answer:
1. The portion. It was the biggest sized we have ever seen. Blissfully large. Completely worth the Aed 60 it is charged. Easily good for two.
2.The crust. Enough said. Oh, perfection.
3. The vanilla. The crème was silky and simple. The sweetness was perfect and non-overpowering. It’s the dessert that you can easily spoon up in between a serious conversation. The vanilla grains at the bottom of the platter will only make you smile wider.

So yes, that was my La Petite Maison experience. Like I said, I had not gone desperate to get impressed. But thanks to the fabulous food I got fortunate to dine on, getting impressed turned to be the least of my worries.

This was a paid lunch. There is nothing to disclose, except for my love towards the Snail dish and the Crème Brulee crust.

La Petite Maison is located in Gate Village 08, DIFC, Dubai. Reservations to be done at 04 4390505.

La Petite Maison – The Pricing Story
Snails in Garlic butter – Aed 95
Beef Carpaccio – Aed 80
Slow cooked guinea fowl pasta – Aed 160
Whole sea bream – Aed 195
Vanilla Crème Brulee – Aed 60
Chocolate Delice – Aed 55

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