Embarking on an exquisite gastronomic journey, Luke Bennett uncovers LPM, the French Riviera’s culinary paradise at Al Maha Island.
Bright, white walls depicting colourful images of a Mediterranean lifestyle greet you on arrival at LPM, an elegant, fine-dining restaurant harmonising food, drink and atmosphere to create a unique and unforgettable experience. Walk through the large, glassed doors and you’ll instantly be swept off to the French Riviera: every detail immerses you further into the illusion that you’re dining along the Côte d’Azur from the opulent décor to the refined menu to the stylish, well-dressed hosts who welcome you with a smile and an air of sophistication.
LPM’s charismatic interior offers an insight into the Belle Époque period of history when France experienced a wealth of artistic and cultural development. An eye-catching, polished welcome bar sits at one end of the restaurant opposed by an open serving area where chefs weave their culinary magic, centred by an imposing yet charming grape section. The stylish ambience is elevated further with the addition of contemporary, vibrant street art that offers an intriguing juxtaposition to the 19th century theme that radiates throughout the restaurant.
Given LPM’s idyllic location along Al Maha boulevard, we chose to seat ourselves on the spacious decking that gifts you impressive, sweeping views across Lusail Marina, adding another memorable detail to your visit. Still mesmerised by the scenery, Kato (our friendly waiter for the evening) arrived to explain that the menu is a celebration of the finest ingredients from the French Riviera and an à la minute cooking approach is utilised: each dish is cooked to order and instantly brought to your table to ensure ultimate freshness with the option to share and savour amongst your dining party.
The extensive hors d’oeuvres menu offers up a tantalising variety of symbolic dishes perfect for sharing. The first dish to appear was a French classic – Terrine De Foie Gras. The smooth texture ensured it was satisfyingly easy to spread across the accompanying sweet, perfectly toasted brioche. The addition of salt, pepper and balsamic provided a wonderful harmony to the rich, buttery taste of the pâte.
Bringing a touch of freshness to the table was a Salade De Chou-Fleur, a delightful concoction of al dente cauliflower varying in colours and textures. The salad was lightly dressed with a flavoursome almond and caraway sauce that left a distinctive aftertaste on the palate and a sprinkling of sweet golden raisins and salty capers added further depth of flavour.
The menu boasts an assortment of carpaccio for diners to choose from and Carpaccio De Sériole Du Japon did not disappoint. Delicate slices of yellowtail engulfed by a punchy citrus sauce with sweet undertones sat gracefully on a bed of silky guacamole. The star of the hors d’oeuvres was a dish synonymous with the finest French cuisine: Escargots De Bourgogne. Now, some readers may be slightly cautious about tasting snails, but I’d encourage you to try something new; there’s a reason snails are considered a delicacy! An alluring aroma signified the arrival of this exquisitely presented dish, and the use of steel tongs makes for an even more memorable experience. Each morsel of snail was surprisingly meaty in texture and smothered in a rich garlic butter that elevated the taste to unforgettable heights.
LPM’s desire to source and serve only the highest quality ingredients is evident and the skilful chefs meticulously prepare each course with subtle enhancements to showcase the excellent produce. Two signature dishes that prove this point and are a definite ‘must-try’ during your visit were the Coquelet Au Citron Confît and Côtelettes D’Agneau Vivienne. Extremely tender, the juicy fibres of the chicken were flawlessly matched with a flavourful layer of crispy skin. A touch of sweetness and zest along with a delectable depth of flavour are gifted by marinade that coats the spatchcocked chicken.
Grabbing our attention with their stylish plating, the lamb cutlets were generous in size and exceptional in both taste and texture. The expertly rendered, smoky exterior offers a delightfully crispy and salty element to match the succulent lamb flesh marinated in a palate-pleasing blend of honey, lemon zest and thyme. A flavoursome aubergine and pine nut caviar brought a luxurious, silky spread to enhance each delectable cutlet. Partnering the exceptional main courses, we opted for fresh and crunchy stems of broccolini lightly brushed in olive oil and chilli alongside a creamy potato gratin with a joyously crisp top layer and the subtle sweetness of nutmeg.
Bringing our delightful dining experience to an end, we were served two enticing, well-known desserts. First, the quintessentially French Créme Brûlée À La Vanille. Plunging my fork through the thin, caramelised shell resulted in the symbolic and highly satisfying ‘snap’ and revealed a creamy yet refreshingly light vanilla custard. To follow was a refined wedge of vanilla cheesecake with a delicate, crumbly base, partnered with a berry compote that brought a pleasurable sharpness to complement the velvety, rich taste of the cream cheese.
Throughout the evening, an attentive sommelier suggested the ideal accompanying beverages for each course and was yet another example of LPM’s attention to detail. Romantic setting. Classy ambience. Outstanding service. Exceptional food. LPM certainly has all the ingredients to ensure diners have the finest, authentic experience of French cuisine.