Review on La Petite Maison
Modelled on the star-spangled, super-posh celebrity restaurant of the same name in Nice, La Petite Maison is the brainchild of Arjun Waney (co-owner of Zuma and Roka). It aims to bring sun-drenched cuisine to this moneyed London enclave (right behind Claridges) and it tries its best to conjure up the essence of the original (regardless of the British weather!).
The interior is certainly distinctive - light, airy, almost feminine with pale wood panels, antique mirrors and linen curtains at the windows; each table is decorated with a 'still life' arrangement of two ripe tomatoes, a lemon and a bottle of opaque Ligurian olive oil. The atmosphere is vivacious, conversation flows and it's mercifully free from glitzy posturing.
There are no conventional starters or main courses on the menu: the idea is to order several items and share them around - although the style is a few notches above casual tapas. Each diner is given an empty plate and dishes are laid out in a row across the middle of the table. Quite a few specialities have been imported from the Nice original, including deep-fried courgette flowers inlaid with sage leaves and anchovies. 'Light and fresh' is the message, so expect lots of salads (including the classic niçoise and an enticing mix of broad beans and Pecorino).
Elsewhere, the kitchen delivers authentic pissaladière (a regional tart of caramelised onions and smoked anchovies), cubes of foie gras with green beans and more substantial offerings such as salt-crusted sea bass with girolles, artichokes and tomatoes, while desserts are a mix of invigorating (seasonal Mediterranean fruit sorbets) and indulgent (pistachio soufflé). France steals most of the limelight on the wine list - who could resist the sunny prospect of seven different rosés?
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Restaurant Opening Times
Lunch: 12.00 - 3.00 pm Mon-Fri (12.30 - 3.30pm Sat-Sun)
Dinner: 6.00 - 11.00pm Mon-Sat (6.30 - 9.30pm Sun)
Accepted credit cards
Visa, Master Card, American Express