Can this new spot serve up a lit­tle slice of Bel­gium in JLT?

What's On (Dubai) - - CONSUME -

Just like the coun­try from which it takes in­spi­ra­tion, Le Petit Belge is small but per­fectly formed. You’ll find this cosy, un­pre­ten­tious restau­rant tucked away in the base­ment of the Pull­man ho­tel in JLT, serv­ing up Bel­gian dishes and hops.

You could come for the ex­ten­sive hops list alone – the drink spe­cial changes ev­ery half an hour to en­cour­age pa­trons to ex­pand their palates and sam­ple the dif­fer­ent styles. There’s an aptly named ‘Hop­pe­tiz­ers’ menu, which con­sists of bar snacks such as the fa­mous Bel­gian frites (fun fact: there is an on­go­ing dis­pute be­tween Bel­gium and France over who in­vented French fries).

But there’s also plenty on of­fer if you’re af­ter some­thing more sub­stan­tial in the food depart­ment. We started with the cheese cro­quettes (Dhs48), paired with a sweet pear syrup dip. Bel­gians are masters of the deep fryer, and these de­light­ful lit­tle balls were friz­zled to per­fec­tion. Each sphere boasted a crisp golden shell, filled with gor­geously sharp, gooey cheese.

It would be im­po­lite to visit a Bel­gian restau­rant and not sam­ple the mussels, which are prac­ti­cally a na­tional ob­ses­sion. The Ro­que­fort and Cognac mussels (Dhs150) came rec­om­mended, and we weren’t dis­ap­pointed – from the mo­ment they were im­pres­sively ig­nited at the ta­ble, ‘ till we had un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously slurped ev­ery one of the de­li­ciously plump, creamy crea­tures from their shells. The por­tion was gen­er­ous, and came with a side of fries, as is the cus­tom.

The Bel­gian theme con­tin­ues through the main cour­ses, where you’ll find of­fer­ings like steak tar­tar (Dhs105), a dish made from raw minced beef – the ul­ti­mate ac­quired taste. We in­stead looked to the grill sec­tion of the menu, se­lect­ing the Aus­tralian ten­der­loin (Dhs135). It might sound like a bor­ing choice, but as our din­ing part­ner de­clared: “This is how meat should taste.” It was so beau­ti­fully cooked we didn’t even bother with the ac­com­pa­ny­ing se­lec­tion of sauces. The suc­cu­lent lamb rack (Dhs112), paired with glossy green beans and melt-in-your-mouth po­tato gratin, was also ex­cel­lent.

To fin­ish, we shared the clas­sic Bel­gian choco­late mousse (Dhs35), which ar­rived in a Kil­ner jar. The dessert ap­peared crumbly at the spoon’s touch, with bits of bis­cuit mixed through, but felt like vel­vet on the taste buds.

As we got up to leave, we al­most found our­selves reach­ing for our non-ex­is­tent coats – af­ter such a hearty meal, you could be for­given for think­ing you were step­ping out into a Euro­pean win­ter. Le Petit Belge offers a nice lit­tle respite from the desert, and is a great ad­di­tion to the JLT food scene.

aPull­man Ho­tel JLT, Jumeirah Lakes Tow­ers, Sun to Thur noon to 2am, Fri and Sat 10am to 2am. Tel: (04) 2427794. Metro: Da­mac Prop­er­ties. lep­etit­belge.com

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