Gone are the days where I could just pop into a fine dining restaurant for a casual meal for the fun of it. Firstly, the big corporate salary is a thing of the past; but mainly, while running and owning fitness centres, it’s important not to indulge too often and stock on the weight!
The benefit of this has been that I no longer take fine dining for granted, and it’s become more of a special treat than a regular occurrence. As a consequence, I’m much more appreciative of a lovely meal.
We’d been pretty flat as a result of our fitness centres being closed again for the 3rd time in 2020. This lead to a fair amount of apathy kicking in and we’d forgotten to make any arrangements for a festive lunch. Christmas was just around the corner and without a booking, we’d resigned to the fact that our lunch would be Marks & Spencer or some such deal.
We were walking down Stanley Street in Central at noon and as we walked past the H building, saw that LPM (La Petite Maison) seemed to have a couple of seats available. Trying out luck, we enquired at the concierge desk to see if there were any walk-in seats available and to our delight, we managed to score a table at the back of the dining room.
I’d been to LPM a couple of times previously, but it had been a few years since my last visit; actually, thinking about it, my visits to LPM finished about the same time as my corporate career 🙂 but it was the first time the Girl had been and we were looking forward to a lovely and delicious French meal.
Originally a London based French restaurant, LPM has expanded across the globe with outlets in the US and Middle East; the Hong Kong version of the restaurant opened a few years back at the opening of the swanky H on Queen building, which is home to some of the best restaurants in Hong Kong, including the two star restaurants Arbour (love) and Ècriture (meh).
The dining room of LMP is fairly classically French fine dining, white table cloths and a feeling of refinement abound; we felt a little under dressed having randomly popped in during a walk, but it also has a relaxed atmosphere that meant that we still felt comfortable (well, I kinda feel comfortable anywhere anyway). There is a long bar area to the side of the dining room and a smaller bar at the back of the restaurant.
The thing that stood out the most though was the sound system. Not content with your average speaker set up, LPM has at least 5 (that we could see) Devialet Phantom speakers, each capable of a massive 4,500 watts of sound. It was complete overkill, but the background music was crisp and pure. We liked that a lot.
Looking over the menu, we were given the standard version, which typically for a French restaurant, had a huge number of options; as well as a truffle based menu option, which had some delicious looking options. There was the obligatory lunchtime deal, but we set that aside immediately, choosing to consider only options from the main menus.
Starting with some starters to share, the Carpaccio de Sériole or Yellowtail Carpaccio was presented, the contrasting yellows of the vinaigrette and olive oil stark against the red of pickled onion. The thinly sliced Yellowtail was fresh and tasted wonderful against the tangy French dressing. The simplicity of the ingredients speaking for themselves, it was a wonderful start to the meal and our taste buds were primed!
Sticking with fish, our next share plate was the Carpaccio de Thon or Tuna Carpaccio. The lightly seared tuna was incredibly glossy on the plate and this time contrasted with a bright green garnish that came along with that tangy vinaigrette. Hazel nuts completed the dish for some added crunch. We loved the stronger flavours of the tuna, the slightly meatier texture of the fish complimenting our Yellowtail, but ramping up the flavour profile.
We took a different path for our next shared dish, which was the Beignet de Courgette or Deep Fried Zucchini Flowers and Sage with Anchovies. The zucchini flowers were so lightly tempura that we could see the colouring of the flowers clearly. There was a deeply satisfying crunch with each bite which was amplified by the salty sauce that accompanied. The combination of the texture and flavour was bordering on insane and was completely more(ish). I’d happily have had many more.
While we’d been happy to share out starters, there was zero intent to share any portion of our main course; apart from a small taste to help me write up this post! The Girly went for the quintessentially French dish of Canard à l’Orange or Slow Cooked Duck Legs with Orange Glaze. Beautifully presented with two complete hind quarters of the duck, glazed to shiny perfection with the orange sauce. There was a deep rich game flavour to the duck that has heightened with the sweet orange sauce, the flavour intensifying with each bite.
A side of potato dauphinoise that was more cream than potato accompanied the main which enhanced the pleasure of the dining experience.
Ironically, I’d chosen a dish that although not French in origin, is a dish that the French seem to have perfected. The Risotto aux truffes was immaculately prepared, and full flavoured. I’d been looking for something both warming and tasty, and the ample proportion of truffle was so earthy and delicious against the creaminess of the risotto. Each mouthful was like an explosion of flavour in my mouth and was without doubt the best risotto I’d had in a number of years.
Normally, we’d not hang around for dessert and the Girl was signalling our waiter for the bill; I had other ideas altogether and convinced her that she needed to try the Pain Perdu façon «Cyrus» or French Toast with Spice Ice Cream. For me, this dessert is the highlight of any meal at LPM and knowing that the Girl was particularly fond of French Toast, I knew she’d be blown away. Unsurprisingly, she was. The dessert was a complete masterpiece, the toast rendered to a crispy outer and creamy centre, the light spices enhancing the sweetness of the dish.
We really enjoyed our lunch at LPM, partly because the food was delicious but mainly because it had been an unexpected part of our day. We’d had no plans to splurge on a lovely French meal when we’d set off on our walk into Central, but we feel the best plans are those that are open to change on a whim.
Our walk home was one of contentment, bellies full from tasty and well executed dishes from one of Hong Kong’s better French restaurants. I’d be understating things a little if I didn’t mention that the girl didn’t stop talking about that French Toast on the way home though; with our penchant for healthy eating of late, there’s not often room for dessert when we eat out.
But on this occasion, it was definitely worth the extra calories 🙂