England: London: Where to Eat: Hot Spots: La Petite Maison
La Petite Maison
Nice’s fashionable hot spot, whose regulars include Elton John, Bono and Rod Stewart, has spread its Gallic wings into London’s Mayfair with the opening (in June 2007) of the place to have lunch. Tucked away in a backstreet mews near Bond Street shopping, Claridge’s and Cipriani, La Petite Maison has a pleasant, airy feel, with giant windows, pale rustic wood floors, cream walls and high ceilings. Better still is the Provençal menu, which is based on a “sharing” philosophy. Initially sceptical of the concept (I tend to go quiet when what I’ve ordered looks better than my fellow diners’ choices), I found that it works well, as long as you order plenty of dishes.
For our table of five, we chose about five starters, five mains and a few desserts. We feasted on stuffed Mediterranean vegetables, Niçoise salad, salt-crusted sea bass, succulent veal chops, roast baby chicken with lemon, grilled eggplant with shrimps and my favorite: pissaladière, a carmelized-onion tart with anchovies. Normally, I hate anchovies, but in this dish they were sparse enough that I could ignore them and concentrate on the mouth-watering tart. Go for the stuffed-pig feeling and finish the meal with some pistachio soufflé and sorbet. You only live once. Open for lunch and dinner.— Elena Bowes 08/31/2007