So my Dorothy dreams finally came true. We have been home for the last few months and whilst there’s no place like home, we clicked our heels three times and arrived (via the District Line) at Le Petit Sud. Tucked beside Hyde Park, you can’t help but be immediately drawn to the boho chic exterior. The new venture of two French natives Greg and Charles, is a cosy and accommodating restaurant with an atmosphere of casual, fun, familiar luxury.
Inside, clean, sparse, dark wood chairs dominate along with an enormous mirror. There is an intimate and very cosy, dimly lit downstairs area which looked perfect for parties too, once the ever present wicked witch of the west Miss Rona allows such fun.
The bar area is a bit of a work of art but the staff were so immediately engaging I didn’t have time to appreciate it properly before we were in full and friendly conversation This wasn’t just our table. Everyone seemed to receive this personable service, including each other. One gentleman telling his colleague “J’taime” as he finished his shift is the exact kind of warmth and kindness that the whole evening was bathed in.
We started (and finished) with cocktails, beginning with a drink created by Le Petit Sud to celebrate Bastille Day. A Timor Highball. A martini of Noilly Prat and Timor berry extract. A drink so good, so refreshing, so deceptively alcoholic. This speciality cocktail is only available for a little while. I’m hunting the recipe as we speak!
Staff in hipster denim aprons were genuinely proud of their food and drinks menu and it was infectious. All locally sourced and as waste free as possible, many of the cocktail concoctions are not just seasonal, but daily, depending on what suppliers deliver.
We began with the bowl of pecorino and truffle nuts, salty and moreish and gone too soon. They were a savoury accompaniment to our second cocktails, an unctuous, milkshake like banana daiquiri, also a special that particular day. Not a hint of synthetic, tiki bar flavour. All exotic with fresh banana and sweet, strong rum. Then, the highlight of my whole night, a menu staple, thank goodness, a Cultured Butter Martini that deserves all capital letters. After enquiring which angel had been milked for this drink I promptly went home and painstakingly fat washed all my own gins.
We followed our amuse bouche with a generous quenelle of goats cheese butter accompanied with some crispy sourdough. Light, airy and strong in flavour, it offset my creamy martini so well it made me giddy.
It’s worth stating that this little haven serves sharing plates, and uncharacteristically, I found myself only ordering a few dishes which was a mistake on two counts. One because the flavours were excellent and two because they err on the side of petite portions and I didn’t want to share…
Another dish so good I attempted to recreate it at home, a tomato and onion salad with slim flakes of crudo fat. So simple, so elegant, so quickly it disappeared. Two more small dishes recommended from the specials menu, created again for the Bastille Day celebration of all things Francophile. A thick, saucy beef bourguignon bejewelled with little pearl onions and a teasing plate of clams in a white wine and garlic sauce. A sauce which demanded bread to mop it up.
I must impress, I rarely drink but the care and pride with which the whole cocktail menu is offered makes it impossible to resist even as a dessert. A melon and jasmine gimlet made with seasonal cantaloupes acquired that week was fragrant, fruity and floral. An apricot old fashioned was made with fresh, jammy fruit and tasted of Christmas seemed fittingly puddingy.
We all have our own farm in Kansas and Le Petit Sud is mine. Dorothy’s trance like repetition of the phrase “there’s no place like home” condenses the meaning of what home means for each of us. Le Petit Sud is an asset to the local neighbourhood and beyond. A little kooky, a lot French and our home from home.
To discover more, visit: lepetitsud.com
All imagery courtesy of Le Petit Sud.
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