La Petite Maison is a true gem of a restaurant. Situated amongst many other high-end restaurants in the ultra-luxe H Queen’s building, this French eatery holds its own without any pretension. When entering from the Stanley Street entrance adorned with classic al-fresco bistro-style furniture, you certainly don’t feel like you’re about to be dining in one of HK’s high-rises.
The restaurant got quite busy for a Tuesday night, and we counted a total of four “Happy Birthdays” sung. This spot is an obvious choice for special occasions with its crisp white tablecloths, stylish bar area and quirky art pieces adorning the walls.
The first thing we noticed about La Petite Maison was the wonderful service. The team have a fantastic sense of humour, and dining with them felt as if we were part of a family – we were even included in their inside jokes! Each dish was explained to us with passion and precision.
It was recommended that we begin our meal with an aperitif, the Tomatini ($145). This martini is made with fresh tomato juice, vodka, balsamic cane sugar, salt and pepper and is described as “the essence of La Petite Maison”. I am not a fan of tomato juice, but I did not want to offend my new LPM friends and decided to give it a try. It was love at first sip – this cocktail is the perfect subtle blend of savoury and sweet.
We were served fresh, crisp bread to start, which we drenched in the ridiculously tasty olive oil. On each table you’ll find fresh tomato and lemon, which we were informed is for guests to “make their own salad”. A fun way to witness first-hand the quality and freshness of LPM’s ingredients.
It was now time to begin our hors d’oeuvres, all served sharing style (with a little more bread and olive oil). First up was the burrata et tomates ($218). You would think after our three-tomato starter salad and Tomatini that we would have had enough of the humble tomato, but each and every way in which the tomatoes were utilised took on an entirely different flavour profile. The sweetness of the cherry tomatoes blended perfectly with the creamy burrata.
The ratatouille et feta ($128) is a highlight of the summer selection, featuring Mediterranean vegetables cooked to perfection, topped with feta and marinated with more of that gorgeous olive oil.
It just wouldn’t be French dining without escargots ($218). These indulgent favourites are served with a delectable garlic butter that we scraped up with more bread until there was not a single drop left. I could have eaten these all night.
One of La Petite Maison’s signature dishes (in both Nice and Hong Kong) is the crevettes tièdes à l’huile d’olive, or warm prawns in olive oil ($208). While a feature of the regular menu, this dish is a real summer delight. The olive oil, lemon, basil and French salt dressing adds a slight tartness to the succulent prawns.
Summer main course options continue the seafood trend. Options include linguine with Venetian clams ($268) and whole sea bream baked en papillote with lemon, herbs and olive oil ($398).
My dining partner and I are both South African. If you ask any South African what South African cuisine is, we’ll say one thing: meat. We opted for a meaty, but still summery, main course. The carré d’agneau, or rack of lamb, with spiced couscous ($998 – subject to availability) reminded us of summer barbecues (or braais, as we call them). The lamb was cooked to a tender medium rare, with the marinade of kalamata olive paste, cardamom, paprika, honey and sherry vinegar adding a flavourful, lightly charred layer.
The lamb was paired with a side of creamy gratin dauphinois ($98). While still reminiscent of a BBQ, this was decidedly better than Mum’s potato bake (sorry, Mum). The sautéed broccolini ($78) is a lighter and healthier side option.
By now, we were stuffed, but it would truly be sacrilege not to indulge in La Petite Maison’s dessert offerings. To end our summer meal, we sampled the pain perdu façon Cyrus ($118) – French toast with spiced ice cream and honeycomb candy. The brioche was light and fluffy with a crisp honey coating.
The gâteau au fromage blanc, or cheesecake, ($118) was served with a generous portion of berry compote and was unbelievably creamy.
I could not fault a single thing about my dining experience at La Petite Maison. It is certainly on the higher end when it comes to pricing, and so often style precedes substance at pricier restaurants. This is not the case here. I kept waiting for a dish or ingredient that I wasn’t head over heels in love with, but it never came. Each dish seemed better than the last. The summer options are kept simple, highlighting the high-quality ingredients, yet the dishes are still full of flavour and complexity.
1/F, H Queen’s, 23–29 Stanley Street, Central, 2887 1113, book online
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