Say bonjour Le Petit Menu, a two-course medley of signature dishes masterminded by UAE institution and DIFC favourite LPM to be served to guests-on-the-go in 60 minutes. In addition to the salad of the day, guests are encouraged to share starters followed by a swiftly served main course chosen from a constantly changing selection curated by Chef Patron Raphael Duntoye. But can haute cuisine be squeezed into the space of an hour? Grazia grabs a lunch date and puts it to the test...
1.26pm Grazia arrives fashionably early at LPM in DIFC - not to brag but - four minutes prior to our reservation.
1.27pm Our temperature is taken - 36.7°C for the record - before we're shown to our socially distanced table.
1.28pm We're offered the Dejeuner d'Affaires menu which comprises of Le Petit Menu at Dhs135 for one starter and one main course, and Le Grand Menu at Dhs180 for two starters, one main course and one scoop of ice cream.
1.31pm Grazia orders mineral water and reminds the waiting staff of dietary requirements and allergies.
1.32pm Lunch date messages saying she's on her way. The clock is ticking.
1.38pm Lunch date and mineral water arrive, and after a quick glance at the menu, to start, we order Salade de Lentilles Vertes and Calamar Frits to share. For mains, we're drawn to: the Filet de Daurade au Citron, and the grilled sirloin with buttery gratin dauphinois to share - read fight over every last spoonful.
1.58pm Our starters arrive along with the salad of the day, and the waiting staff remind us of LPM's sharing concept as we devour the buttery calamari and zingy green lentil salad that's become an icon of the eatery.
2.15pm As staff whip our clean plates off the table, we're beginning to realise that a 60-minute menu and a long-awaited, post-lockdown catch-up may not necessarily be the finest pairing.
2.16pm With military precision, the staff march out with our mains - a perfectly cooked sea bream in papillote with confit lemon, cherry tomatoes, capers, sweet pepper and olives, and an exquisitely seasoned filet served medium rare as chef recommends.
2.36pm Six minutes late, with full bellies, a spoonful of gratin dauphinois and a morsel of steak left, we admit defeat - at finishing our meals and enjoying an LPM lunch within 60 minutes.
2.46pm Our plates are whisked away and we're offered ice-cream, which we politely decline.
Grazia's verdict: Thanks to LPM's super-slick service and its menu of trusty favourites you already know and love, yes it is perfectly possible to enjoy a gastronomic experience in the space of an hour. However, with its buzzy atmosphere, charming staff, and flair for transporting us as close to la Cote d'Azur as many of us are going to get this summer, the real question is, why would you want to rush?
LPM's express Déjeuner d’Affaires is available from Sunday – Thursday, 12 – 3pm, dine in only at LPM Dubai and LPM Abu Dhabi. Find LPM Restaurant & Bar – Dubai at Gate Village No, 8, DIFC. Call, (+971) 4 439 0505 or visit lpmrestaurants.com/dubai. Find LPM Restaurant & Bar – Abu Dhabi at The Galleria, Al Maryah Island. Call (+971) 2 692 9600 or visit lpmlondon.co.uk/abu-dhabi