[TRAVELOGUE] SWITZERLAND • THE LE PETIT REVIEW

I am filled with much joy to be able to wrap up 2022 with a review on a very special restaurant. One of the highlights I looked forward to on my trip to Lausanne last month was to meet up with Chef Jean-Philippe Patruno at his very own restaurant on the hills in Vaud.

Chef Philippe and I were first acquainted in 2017 when he helmed at the now defunct Dehesa in Singapore, a restaurant which still stands as one of the most memorable I’ve been to for the food. Chef Philippe specializes in nose to tail cuisine. There are essences of different cultures in his culinary which I can only attribute to Chef Philippe’s personal diverse background! Prior to starting this post, I had gone back to read the review I did on Dehesa, and it brought back so many delicious memories for me, I could almost taste it! Mind you, there aren’t many places that stick the way Dehesa does.

Anyway, the old must give way to the new. And so here we are, at Le-Petit. A sense of warmth filled us as we drove up to the grey old house that Le-Petit sits, soft lights glowed through the French door windows onto the small quiet street. Philippe was attending to a fireplace mess when we walked in, and the solemnity on his face turned into a warm smile when he saw us. My excitement grew knowing my dinner will be in the hands of this man!

Le-Petit is warm, cozy, and charming. The space is small but opens up to a large terrace which is a popular spot in summer. The restaurant is decked out in natural wood and white linen. Rustic table lamps lit the place while copper pots hang over the old brick fireplace.Whatever fiasco that happened with the fireplace just moments ago was indiscernible as we basked nearby in its flickering warmth. Chef Philippe works single-handedly in the kitchen with one staff running the dining room. The crew may be small but things ran flawlessly. The menu isn’t big, with everything fitting onto an easel blackboard. But it had something for everyone from steak to seafood to vegetarian; and of course desserts.

Unfortunately, the type of food is far from Dehesa’s exotic genre, since the Swiss are way more conservative in their choice of food. Nonetheless, I was still excited to see what Chef Philippe has up his sleeves!

Before our appetizers arrived, we were treated to a plate of Beef Tripe. Fried golden brown and crispy with a sprinkle of sea salt flakes, the tripe was tender and crisp with a light chew. It was steaming hot having come straight from the fryer and a joy to nibble on with the equally delicious Chardonnay we picked for the evening. It was so tasty even our conservative local Swiss friends ate them with gusto, after I told them “it’s just meat!”

Poulpe de galice, écrasé de pommes de terre câpres – For starters, we began with a PERFECTLY cooked Octopus. The thick tentacles were dusted with a generous dose of dry seasoning and grilled to a soft, juicy finish. I cut through the octopus with ease, and the warm smokey meat had the softest, most succulent bite ever! I don’t usually order octopus for fear that it’s not done well but somehow I knew here at Le Petit, it should be decent. How wrong I had been! It was Phenomenal!

Terrine de foie gras, purée de coing– Next up, a block of pink foie gras pâté, blended so fine and smooth, it literally melts in the mouth. Paired with puréed quince jelly, the contrast of tart sweetness and creamy goose liver stirred up an appetite for more goodness to come!

The daily soup, which isn’t listed on the menu, was a silky Cream of Pumpkin & Chestnut. The rich nutty soup warmed our tummies like a big bear hug!

Porc Valentin Chappuis , Au Mont sur Lausanne – Using pork from a locally bred pig, from a farm right here in Vaud. These pigs are a special breed that feeds on fodder wheat, barley, protein peas and rapeseed meal, a diet that is less rich, thus allowing the pigs to grow at a slower pace, in turn resulting in meat which is not only higher in marbling, but also superior in taste. The pork belly cut was slow cooked to fork tender consistency with a crispy crackling. Can’t help but think of our very own Singapore Roast Pork belly when I tucked into it. The meat was very fine with subtle sweetness. The thick crackling was on point. Eat it quickly to enjoy the crunch.

Poisson du jour – My guest ordered the fish of the day, a local white fish fillet with its skin fried crisp and golden; on a bed of vegetables. The fish was cooked to perfection. Just look at that crunch on the skin!

Rognons de veau ā l’amcionne – The one exotic item on the menu that screams Jean-Philippe Patruno! There was no hesitation; I had to order the veal kidneys. Cooked in a savory brown sauce, the kidneys were plump and juicy. Not a second overdone, the texture was firm and supple, with a nice bite to it. The usual strong iron rich taste is cleverly masked in the buttery sauce.

Accompanying the delicious kidneys, was a little pile of mixed chopped pig’s skin and bacon (amongst other things) enclosed in a cabbage pouch. A hearty little side that’s packed with flavor and textures.

I was determined to finish our meal with Chef’s legendary Chocolate mousse; we ended up having the mousse, the Pavlova and the Crème Brûlée.

Mousse au chocolat tiede, glace pistache– This will be the most decadent chocolate mousse you eat! The reviews on this plain looking classic have been astounding and I can absolutely see why. The warm mousse is ultra rich, and super luscious. It’s also fine and velvety smooth. Its sweet bitter richness is balanced off with cold pistachio ice cream. The two were a perfect marriage! Do not doubt. Order this!

Creme Brûlée courge canelle, Whisky– A pimped up creme brûlée spiced with woody cinnamon and whisky. It’s impossible to go wrong with this!

Pavlova Au Kaki– Sweet and beautiful to the eyes and palate. The meringue was light and airy; uniquely paired with persimmon. Its sweet with a little tartness in the sauce. A great choice for those of us with a sweet tooth!

When the last of the other guests left, we finally had a chance to catch up. We spoke about how Le Petit started, in the midst of Covid; the past uncertainties that evolved into current success. We listened to Chef’s stories from all over the world; the different food cultures; and about the cuisines he loves. It is amazing to see how much he’s grown his business from the time we met in 2017! His success is pure hard work and talent! I am eager for the day Chef restarts his nose-to-tail kitchen. And wherever that may be, he can be sure I will be there! Meanwhile, I’ll be seeing him here in Vaud. And perhaps with advance notice and persuasion, I might convince him to cook me some pig’s brains next time!

Le Petit @ Route des Deux-Villages 74, 1806 Saint-Légier-La Chiésaz Phone: +41219431185

Disclaimer- This is not a sponsored post!

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