La Petit Maison: A pre-opening preview.

-Hisham Wyne for Bespoke International

La Petite Maison combines the elegance of French cuisine with a soupcon of Italian fare.

The result is a menu that is as proficient in pasta and meat as it is in light Mediterranean titbits. Seafood is a common occurrence, but so are heartier dishes that would not be out of place in Liguria, Italy.

The décor is enticing sans rebelliousness – off-white walls pay neutral homage to abstract street art; some by known names and others anonymous. Low spotlights punctuate the ceiling while the marble tiled floor exudes space.

A focal point is the bar, adorned with bottles of oversized champagne, serving an inventive mix of esoteric cocktails and regular drinks. The French martini, for instance, is a particularly interesting twist on an old staple.

Food at the Maison is meant to be a communal affair, and is designed for sharing. All dishes are brought the centre of the table, even if they’re designed to feed but one.

The idea is to sample not just your fare, but also that of your companions. The Maison deals in cuisine as well as bonhomie.

The ingredients are fresh to the point of obsession. La Petite Maison doesn’t believe in storage and reuse: all that is designated for a day must be consumed within of it. Old produce is considered beta noir, and treated accordingly by being unceremoniously shown the dumpster.

La Petite Maison has only recently opened in Dubai, but attendance could not be faulted. Even on a weeknight, most tables were occupied by gregarious gaggles. Apparently, the eatery’s reputation precedes it. With branches in Nice and London already well known by jet setters, the Maison’s Dubai version had an established well-heeled international clientele anxiously waiting for it to commence operations.

The food is exceptional, and the service highly attentive. The waiting staff members exude genuine enthusiasm without being overtly fawning, and are mostly knowledgeable in their craft. The sole question is whether they will manage to sustain their joie de verve once months have passed.

Nevertheless, La Petite Maision has most things right, and is a must visit for those looking for a sophisticated interpretation of Mediterranean and French cuisines.