Burrata with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes. Image Credit: Supplied

La Petite Maison, a true star among Dubai’s repertoire of fine dining restaurants, has no intention of resting on its lofty laurels. The classy French outpost still stands tall as they whip out Mediterranean delicacies that are loaded with flavour and served with minimum fuss. It’s a place to be seen and to see.

Celebrating its 8th birthday in Dubai on October 24, the swanky DIFC joint boasts the buzz and energy of a brand new restaurant opening. It’s notoriously difficult to get a reservation here any day of the week, but to say that this still applies eight years on and during these lean economic times — that’s quite a testament to this culinary gem.

We went on a week night to find an absolutely packed restaurant and standing room only at the bar. Drinking in the cosy romantic atmosphere of muted lighting and muted beige decor, we were soon escorted to our table where our night of fine-dining began.

In keeping with its name, the vibe at LPM is distinctively intimate — be it the attentiveness of the staff, the layout of the restaurant, the mood lighting and most importantly, the family style philosophy of the meals — all the plates are meant to be shared. As we went through the restaurant’s recommended choices, it was almost a religious experience of savouring each dish and its textures to the exclusion of any other talk. The food is king here and while this should be the mantra of any restaurant, LPM has made it their mission to stick to it year after year.

Hors D’oeuvres:

We started off with a plate of warm prawns in olive oil, a deceptively simple looking dish but packing in tons of flavour. The gentle citrus notes that rolled off the freshest slivers of seafood hit our sweet spots.

Next up, was their legendary Burrata. My dining companion and I could see why the very popular semi-soft Italian cheese was raved about so much- it was creamy yet firm and boded perfectly with the fresh basil and cherry tomatoes. If you are looking for goodness in a plate, then you have reached the right place.

Our bowl of green lentil salad with apple cubes paired very well with our string of hors d’oeuvres. Here again we wondered at the simplicity of the few ingredients that resulted in just the right amount of tartness and freshness. It certainly had us busily discussing how we could recreate it at home- wishful thinking, I know.

Snails in garlic and butter.

We enjoyed the fried calamari but it was entirely eclipsed by the winner of the night (yes main course and dessert included), the snails in garlic butter. We would go back to LPM for this dish alone. Even the unadventurous and traditional protein eaters should give this superbly flavoured dish a shot. Like us, you will be discretely but determinedly tapping the snail shells on your plate to tap and scrape out every last morsel.

Main course:

The grilled Chilean white bass was perfectly cooked and flaky, while their signature roast baby chicken marinated in lemon was comfort food at its best.

The baked gratin potatoes and roasted cauliflower florets complemented our mains wonderfully.

Dessert:

We rounded off our with two decadent desserts- the warm chocolate mousse with malt ice cream which had the exact amount of darkness we like in our chocolate, and the French Toast with spice ice cream laced with cinnamon goodness.

The last word:

While we enjoyed the family style dining for its convivial nature, there were so many dishes that we wanted to have all to ourselves. While the signature dishes were sublime, we were intrigued by the rest of the items on the menu and the conundrum was whether to stick to the signature during our second trip here or try something new.

LPM may the birthday candidate here, but it felt like they are the ones who are armed with the perfect gift — divine tasting French food.

The details

Where: Le Petite Maison, DIFC
Average cost for two: Dh700
Credit Cards: Yes