On a sunny day, La Petite Maison gives a decent impression of somewhere on the Côte d’Azur, with its cream pillars, spacious dining room and light flooding in through big windows. It’s a franchise of a renowned establishment in Nice, but unlike nearly all restaurants in France it doesn’t offer set menus to soften its prices (not shown on the otherwise-jaunty website, so they can come as a shock). If you’re bothered about cost, however, it’s fair to say you’re not at one with the chatty, multinational, Mayfair clientele.
Like its Gallic parent, LPM showcases French-Mediterranean cuisine and ingredients, in both sharing-friendly ‘hors d’oeuvres’ and main courses. The produce certainly delivered – gloriously juicy tomatoes – but on our visit the cooking was disappointingly short on flair. A Provençal classic of salt-cod and potato brandade, in croquettes, was too salty (surely a basic with salt cod is washing the salt off properly) and lacked the smoothness of a really good brandade. In pasta with squid, prawns and chorizo, central flavours were masked by crude (and un-French) hot spice.
Abundant staff ensure no one feels neglected, although the kitchen is a little slow. A properly grand wine list again focuses on southern France, with probably London’s best choice of quality rosés.