One of the latest restaurants on the Klang Valley dining circuit, Petite Millie charms with its bold and contemporary cuisine, writes Karen Ho
WITH a sweet-sounding delicate name like Petite Millie, this latest eatery in 1Utama in Petaling Jaya had me conjuring up images of dainty tartlets, freshly baked pastries, and the warm smile of an apron-decked auntie in the kitchen. The reality, however, is a bit different.
The first thing that strikes me about the place is the dimly lit modern interior, accentuated by the cement walls, grey metallic furniture and selective lighting. The open floor design leaves nothing hidden so your eyes can wander from the big blackboard menus, to the bustling kitchen staff, to the exposed black ceiling and dangling lights.
The understated and functional decor means that elaborate elements are kept to a minimum. Apart from a wall adorned with framed pictures, there appears to be a lack of things such as cushions, patterns, fabrics and floral arrangements. I suddenly feel I am in for something more adventurous than a hot croissant.
As discerning customers, we are so used to our senses being stimulated by taste, texture, colour, sound... even that promotion card and magazine rack. But at Petite Millie, some of these stimulants are absent, most probably because the owners had wanted customers to focus on what matters most: the food.
The menu is like a gastronomic short story. Exotic-sounding “characters” such as Poutine Daniel, Chermoula Escolar Fish and Crusty Napolean are featured alongside a fine selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, baked tarts, meat and seafood dishes.
While Petite Millie appears to serve French fare, the menu is actually French-influenced, not just from France but also French-speaking Canada. Other dishes and flavours from Europe can also be found.
We try a couple of signature dishes, one of which is poutine, a Canadian favourite that originated in Quebec. Possibly novel here, poutine is a simple but hearty meal of chunky fries, grated cheese and homemade gravy that has been given the gourmet treatment. The basic combo comes in some fascinating variations. The Poutine Cheek version, for example, has beef cheek that is so tender, thanks to six hours of braising in beef stock. The small cubes of meat leave a delicate taste in the mouth and had me wishing for extra gravy to soak up more of the flavour.
Ordering the Tarte Flambee doesn’t require a fire extinguisher on standby. This French specialty is a healthier cousin of the pizza. The thin oven-baked dough base is spread lightly with creme fraiche and you can choose various toppings, of course. The avocado and crab provide a subtle flavour, while another light and tastier choice is the Pissaladiere, which combines gratinated tomatoes, white anchovies and black olives.
I soon realise that behind many of the upmarket names and gourmet creations are meals that are essentially staple favourites. More familiar to us as fries and gravy, pizza, sausage and mash, fish pie and roast chicken, some classic hearty foods have been given an epicurean makeover with twists on the side.
Take Emilia’s Tagliatelle al Duck Ragu. Duck pasta makes a fine main course. Petite Millie takes it to another level by having not one, but two types of duck preparation. The deep flavours from the braised meat and the sliced smoked meat nicely complement the ribbons of pasta. There is only a sprinkling of sauce so the star taste is clearly in the meat.
Another option for meat-lovers is the charbroiled trio of cutlets. Using only good quality lamb, the cutlets are well-browned on the outside and given a just-cooked texture inside with a slight hint of pink. A spoonful of mint sauce adds a zing to the moist meat. But you won’t find the conventional potato mash on the side. A unique aubergine-lentil mash makes for a surprisingly tasty alternative. Just ignore the colour and savour the nice blend of contrasting textures and subtle flavours.
But it is the fish that makes my heart beat faster. A perfect-looking piece of pan-roasted salmon brought back holiday memories of a New Zealand salmon farm. The freshness of the salmon and the delicately cooked pink flesh are heavenly. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, there’s the accompanying warm potato crab salad with just enough crab meat for extra flavour.
From the sweet selection, one of the highlights has to be the apple crumble. Petite Millie’s version of this British classic has a cute round casing of short crust pastry topped with crumble. The thin crisp outer layer and the light apple mixture are scrumptious. How nice if there is more crumble. Still, the taste is terrific, boosted even more by a creamy scoop of vanilla ice-cream and a triple-berry side sauce. Sheer heaven!
Lot G146, Ground Floor, 1Utama Shopping Centre, Petaling Jaya
Adventurous European fusion offerings
Pan-roasted salmon with warm potato crab salad
Laid-back and casual
From RM25 for a main course
Gorgeous food. Give it a try.