Le Petit Belge is a wee slice of Belgium right here in Dubai. The original branch is in a cosy little town called Maasmechelen, and we now have not one, but three in Dubai.
The JLT and Dubai Motor City branches have been around for a while now, and I was recently invited to try out their brand new branch in Double Tree by Hilton at Bay Square.
The restaurant cum bar is beautifully spacious, and the interiors are done up with classic wooden accents and dim mood lighting. You can choose to sit by the bar, the outdoor terrace, or as we did, a cushy corner that’s perfect for foodies.
I am not a beer drinker, and absolutely detest the characteristic malt scent of the drink. I had therefore made up my mind to stay sober through the evening, but the very lovely Winnie, our very sweet and pretty hostess for the night, insisted me to try the Delirium Red.
One of the primary reasons I don’t drink beer is my excruciatingly sharp sense of smell. Most lager-based products smell like stinky feet to me, yet this one was all out ‘cherry’. I love the distinctively fruity scent of cherry, and the experience is visually extended with the deep, dark color of the beer. The taste is sweet yet very ‘cherry-like’, and is definitely not a drink you’d gulp down like a beer fiend, but rather sip throughout the evening with dainty nibbles on Belgian fries. Having said that, I the beer-detester actually reordered a second glassful; yes it was that good (and you gotta love the wee pink elephants!).
Another cherry-based beer I discovered here is the Kriek Belle-Vue, a more robust, creamy beer with the characteristic sweetness of cherries, the full-body goodness of nuts, and a hint of smoked wood.
And what should you order at Le Petit Belge? When in doubt with appetizers, I always opt for the mixed platter. The Le Petit Belge Tasting Platter is good enough for two very hungry adults (or a table of 3 to 4 socially poised people). This platter features spicy wings, mushroom crostini, toast cannibal (aka crostini topped with beef tartare), crispy calamari and ballekes in tomato sauce (a more refined version of the ever-popular Ikea meat-balls).
“Because we are the smallest country in Europe, that is how the French name us. We are David, not Goliath, we are great in being small.” – lepetitbelge.com
I love a good beef tartare, and was so blown away with the Cannibal Crostinis that I ordered the Steak Tartare for my maincourse. The meaty goodness of the raw meat is accentuated with pickled condiments with a side of salads and Belgian fries (crisp and thick-cut like they should be!).
This dish is not for the faint of heart as you really have to be a tartare lover to enjoy it. Even then, the portion size is pretty generous and I couldn’t do complete justice. Best shared between two carnivores with extra sides.
Hubby stuck to his all-time favorite, the Lamb Rack (aka “Le cote d’agneau”). The meat was cooked a perfect medium rare and was falling off the bone. It comes with green beans, baby potato, roasted tomato and grain mustard sauce.
For desserts, I highly recommend Le Petit Belge’s Tiramisu with Belgian Spucloos. The traditional Italian classic is given a twist with the use of much-loved Lotus biscuit, and you can really taste the kick of Cointreau in it. Definitely not a pot you’d want to share!
Hubby went for Waffle Ice-cream. And here I was thinking his choice will be the same-old, everyday cone… how cool is the presentation here!
Overall, we had a wonderful, laid-back evening at Le Petit Belge. The interiors are tastefully European and have this old-world charm, the staff are well-versed on the menu options and very professional, and the food here is absolutely made for drowning down with that deliciously fruity Belgian beer!
Le Petit Belge has 2 branches in Dubai. I visited the newly opened branch in Double Tree by Hilton at Bay Square. The other two branches are in Pullman Hotel, JLT and Motor City Dubai.
For more information, visit their website lepetitbelge.com