“Instead of rich heavy flavours that depended on the use of excessive butter and cream, the restaurant would largely use the elements of Niçoise food to create a cuisine that was light, healthy and deliciously palatable.” LPM Restaurant & Bar

Why it has taken me so long to visit LPM Restaurant & Bar (formerly La Petit Maison) I will never know but it was definitely worth the wait. This sophisticated French Mediterrnean venue is located in the capital’s dining hub on Al Maryah Island along with other favoured restaurants like Zuma, Nusr’et and Coya. Engineer turned Chef Patron, Raphael Duntoye opened the first LPM in London’s Mayfair before taking the brand global with venues now in six major cities; Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Miami, Hong Kong and the latest venture in Riyadh. 

Unusually for an entrance to a fine dining restaurant, LPM is accessible from street level via a colourful, graffiti filled walkway painted by a local artist. The popular venue has an intimate dining room, well-stocked cocktail bar and an outdoor waterfront terrace. The decor is simple, with white linen tablecloths and pale tones that give the dining room a gallery-like feel and act as a canvas for the colourful French art. 

LPM’s cuisine plays less on the rich native cuisine of France and more on the Southern coastal influences of Nice and healthier Niçoise food. Fresh tomatoes, a whole lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil are placed in the centre of the table for guests to create their own salad while perusing the extensive menu. The meal gets off to a great start with delicious French bread baked in-house and served warm, perfect with the unsalted butter or oil and balsamic vinegar provided.

The menu draws on the very best of Southern France and Italy’s culinary influences and it’s focus is on fresh, seasonal produce that’s beautifully presented. Dishes are designed to be shared and there’s something for every palate and dietary requirement. Of course there’s the classic escargot for those who like snails but also plenty of seafood, pasta, meat and vegetarian options. Between us we had a variety of impressive starters that included a delightful, creamy burrata with tomatoes, a surprisingly tasty green lentil salad, yellowtail tuna carpaccio with avocado and citrus dressing and a lightly cured sirloin with pickle dressing.

Whereas the starters impressed the mains were underwhelming. The Ribeye served on the bone was overly fatty and the salt baked seabass fillet was flavoursome but overcooked. To compensate we were given a whole selection of delicious desserts; warm chocolate mousse with ice cream, cheesecake with mixed berries, vanilla crème brûlée and a sorbet selection of apple, rhubarb, raspberry and pear. The sweet treats were accompanied by a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday that any choir would have applauded. One thing that really surprised us all was the range and affordability of the drinks and mixology. Bartender Nelson, who was a beverage afficado, was a key part of our evening delivering great cocktails from the well-stocked bar and keeping spirits high. 

LPM Abu Dhabi offers fine dining without a hint of pompous but instead the perfect partnership of relaxed and casual. Yes the food prices are above average but not extortionate and the drinks are unbelievably reasonable. A great place for a business lunch or a celebration dinner and everything in between, the staff are welcoming and the service is attentive, we will definitely be returning.

LPM Restaurant & Bar

Location: The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi

Telephone: 02 692 9600

Website: lpmrestaurants.com/abu-dhabi

Opening Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 12 noon – 11pm, Thursday 12 noon – 11:30pm, Friday 12:30pm – 11:30pm and Saturday 12:30pm – 11pm.

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All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2021. All rights reserved. Featured image and additional photos used with courtesy of lpmrestaurants.com/abu-dhabi