This is my third visit to this lovely little restaurant located in the small area of Topsham, being my third visit this review will be a combination of all my visits. On first glance walking past this restaurant in the main busy street of Topsham you could easily mistake it for a large town house, very minimalist signs locate you to the main entrance. Once inside you are immediately in the main dining area with a small corridor in front of you leading into the kitchen, and 2 small lounges to the left and right with tables and chairs. The restaurant seats about a maximum of 26 and inside is cleanly decorated with white walls and small warm lighting placed throughout. Tonight I am also dining with my family of Mother and Father.
You are greeted by front of house “Sara” who is brilliant and very welcoming, from there your coats are taken and you are shown to your table. The tables are dressed in clean white clothes with nice silverware, and a small pot of green olives in the centre. Once seated and drink orders taken, menus were handed out. The menus are printed on standard A4 paper and are clean with around 4-5 selections for each course. La Petite Maison only offer a set menu with the choice of 2 Courses @ £29,95 and 3 Courses @ £35.95, both come with bread to start and coffee/tea and petite fours. I do like how this works as it makes the menu look clean with only 2 simple price schemes, and the cost conscious of us are pleased due to they can select any dish of their fancy without having to worry about the cost as its set.
The menus are printed on simple A4 paper due to the fact the menu changes every day and this is due to what produce comes in on that day, this is great and I admire restaurants who do this as it shows their ability to adapt and change with the seasons, and proves the chef cares about local produce.
On this occasion I was immediately drawn to the Seared Pigeon Breast with Bacon, Foie Gras on toasted bread. Bread was then served on the table which comes in the form of a home made cheese straw, white hard crusted roll and a wholemeal soft roll. This was served in a small basket and was 1 item each for each person. The bread is well made and is all done in house, with the cheese draw being very light with a strong cheese flavour. However the accompanying butter is a let down and does not have a strong taste at all, im not sure if this is home made or not.
Within only 20mins my starter was served, my initial impression was shock at the shear size of the Foie Gras, used to the very minute portions served at previous restaurants. This had such an amazing taste and flavour its hard to pin point the exact reason for this, if it was the quality, cooking process or just the combination of the jus etc, the toast added a pleasurable difference in texture but this was unfortunately not crisp and had a slightly soggy bread element. The Pigeon was well cooked and served rare, myself being a fan of meat being cooked like this, however I can see someone else could find this a problem, I did however find that this lacked a great deal of flavour, and really did need the added Foie Gras and bacon to really provide the flavour elements. The small crisp salad was a needed light element to the powerful and heavy Fois Gras.
My main dish of Roast Duck Breast, Confit of Duck, dauphinoise potatoes, Apple and Summer Greens, arrived only moments later. I requested my duck to be served Rare and this was perfectly presented as you can see from the photos, the whole dish was presented well. The apples provided a nice sweet element to the duck and help cut through the fatty duck taste at times, although the duck was very lean by all accounts, however I would have liked the apple ever so slightly more cooked as a crunch was present. The dauphinoise potatoes were good, but I found it lacked some cheese intensity although plenty of good buttery flavours exploded within the mouth. The confit of duck was brilliant with the crispy skin provided great flavour and the meat just falling from the bone. The service at this time also needs to be mentioned with Sara in constant eyes views just asking if everything is ok and constantly topping up of drinks, but without her presence being to much.
My mother at this time at Fillet Steak with Sliced Potatoes, Summer Greens, with Caramilised Red Onion and Bacon. This rated this 10/10 with the Steak being a perfect medium and the asparagus being lovely and still having a slight bite.
Now onto the favorite part of the meal…. Desserts. Having chosen the Warm Apricot and Almond Tart with Mascarpone Ice Cream, I couldn’t wait to see this as it sounded wonderful. 15 minutes later the dessert arrived and I was not disappointed with a very good portioned size slice of tart, with a large spoon of the ice cream placed on top which at this point had just started to melt from the heat of the warm tart. The accompanying apricot sauce was a great side and worked well. The tart itself was very light with a good crisp base of pastry which was sweet but not over powering, the sponge was quite light with large whole and half apricots spread along the base, and a thin layer of preserve in there also. The Ice Cream was great and a good rich taste to go with the light tart.
My Father had the Lemon Posset, he rated this 8/10, it was extremely light and not sour at all to the point where abit of tang could have been quite a good addition. This was also a good size portion.
My Mother had the Plate of Rhubarb, the Crumble was great with a good crispy topping and a tartie rhubarb base to it. The shot of Rhubarb to me was extremely tart and to much for me, however my mum being a love of all things Rhubarb was an immediate lover. The great ginger ice cream mysteriously found half of its portion on my plate, now how did that happen?, this was great with whole pieces of crystalised ginger placed throughout. 9/10.
Coffee was then served and was good quality, with some home made chocolate truffles also being placed on the table. These were deep, dark and rich and having just been removed from the fridge you only needed to touch them for the slightly moment to have a runny stream of chocolate pour down your hand. Very good chocolates indeed.
Overall as mentioned before this was my third visit to La Petite Maison, and im going to give a score of –
The food is presented well with it not being to fancy or complicated, but still provided the visual shock of a very good plate of food. The front of house are great and the food is quick and speedy throughout with the food being great value for money.
Will defiantly be coming back for more.