Saturday, 19 February 2011

Bistro Papillon, Sydney CBD

Bistro Papillon has been on my list of places to try for a loooong time....
Spotted this chic looking French bistro whilst looking for a parking spot on Clarence Street sometime last year :)
When my Melbournian foodie buddy / colleague said she's coming down to Sydney with her family to celebrate her birthday, I thought this will be a good chance to try out this French place ( big group = likely chance of different foods being ordered = more food photos = perfect ! )

Table Glasswares ; Bar Area ; Diners ; Pictures on The Wall

Love the ambience in the small bistro, the furniture were of dark warm tones with warm mood lighting, which is perfect for romantic dinner but perhaps not so for blogger lol.
I also like the French posters framed and hanged throughout the restaurants.

Dita von Teese Perrier

Got there earlier than the others, so I just ordered a sparkling water while I wait. 
Now, I've seen San Pellegrino's collaboration with Missoni but this is the first time I've seen Dita von Teese's collaboration with Perrier. A very burlesque and sexy green bottle of French sparkling water, hehehehe :P

Special of The Day Menu ; Warm Table Settings

Specialties Menu

Not too long after, the rest of the dining party arrives and after few minutes we were handed the menu, or should I say menus. There were 3 menus we get to choose from - the specialties, the à la carte and the day's special.
Bistro Papillon's specialties are their tartines - a French version of open faced sandwiches and usually comes with fancy topping and / or spreads. We passed on the tartines that night as we have already had our mind set on the other things on the menu. 
Shall be back to try them out though, probably during lunch time when I  just need something light :)

Pate de Voie de Volaille 
Homemade chicken liver pate, cornichons, red capsicum relish and baguette

The pate I was told a good pate, rich and creamy. With this starter, you may ask for more baguette if you'd like and my friend did just that :)

Soup a l'Ognion 
French Onion Soup w/ Gruyere Cheese Crouton 

Had a little taste of this French onion soup, was tossing between this or the special of the day.
The soup has a nice rich onion flavour, a good balance of sweet and salty.

Special Starter of The Day 
Homemade country style terrine served with organic sourdough bread, cornichons, green apple & onion chutney

The terrine was delicious, not exactly sure what's in there though :P
The sourdough bread served with the terrine was warm and the sweet chutney helped balance the richness of the terrine. 

2007 Chateau Mont-Redon , Cotes du Rhone Rouge, France
2008 Hugel Gentil, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Alsace, France

We ordered 2 bottles of wine to accompany our meals, of course I didn't have any of it so I cannot comment on how they tasted.
The others said they were good wines, so let's take their words on them !

After a delicious round of starters, let's get onto the mains :

Cassoulet de Poissons 
Fresh green prawn and snapper stew with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, black olives, fresh herbs
served with a side of garden salad

The cassoulet de poissons was the day's main special, a lovely mixture of fresh seafood that I was told cooked perfectly and the broth was very rich, aromatic and delicious. It was served with a side of lightly dressed garden salad.

Cassoulet de Canard Confit
Roasted confit of duck leg with a white bean cassoulet

The confit of duck leg had a really crispy skin and a nice roasted flavour. The accompanying white bean cassoulet was creamy with rich tomato flavour. 
The meat was so tender that you don't need much effort to pull them off the bone. 

Coq au Vin 
A French classic, corn fed chicken casserole cooked in red wine with bacon, mushrooms, onion and thyme
 & a side of buttered mixed vegetables

The coq au vin had a very strong wine flavour and strangely enough, it tasted gamey which is very unusual for chicken.
I didn't quite like this as I found the other flavours in the casserole were too overpowering. 
With some of the mains you get to choose a side dish to accompany your meal, you get to choose from fries, potato gratin, homemade spätzle, ratatouille, buttered vegetables or green salad.

Papadelle au Lapin Faon Chasseur 
Braised rabbit papadelle with mushrooms, pancetta, herbs and preserved lemon

The dish that I've been wanting to try, rabbit pasta ! The papadelle was cooked al dente and love the lemon and herb flavours, it really made this pasta dish a light and refreshing one. The rabbit was very tender and love the crispy bits of pancetta. 

It's a pity that they have taken it out of their current menu ( I went in January and they have just changed the menu in February) :(  
Hopefully it will make a come back and remains on the menu forever !

Filet de Boeuf Sauce Marchand de Vin
Pan fried beef eye fillet with eschalots and red wine sauce & side of Dauphinoise potato gratin 

My friend's husband who had this dish said that the beef was tender and melts in your mouth, although the portion size was quite small I think.  He chose the creamy dauphinoise potato gratin to accompany his beef. 

Digestifs, Tea & Coffee
Cointreau, Coffee, Green Tea & Frangelico

Some of us still have some space left in our tummy so desserts were definitely the way to go to end the night :)
I was quite surprised when the glass of Cointreau arrived cloudy - apparently it goes from clear liquor to cloudy when it has been kept chilled - very interesting indeed.....
Stick with tea or the aperitifs here, as the coffee was unfortunately really bad. 
My cappuccino was half foam and the other half was weak and watery coffee. Should have just ordered some tea instead - lesson learned :P

Profiteroles with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and crème anglaise.

The choux pastries were filled with ice cream, served on a pool of crème anglaise and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. 

Classic Crème Brûlée

The brûlée has passed the crack test and was deemed a very good one by those who ordered it - the custard was perfectly set and creamy.

Brie de Nangie Rouzaire 
From the village of Tournan just outside of Paris, mature on rye straw mats in 'caves' for 2 months. 

There is a good selection of cheese platters for those not into sweets.

Crumble aux Pommes 
Apple Crumble with Maple & Walnut Ice Cream

The apple compote has been nicely spiced with cinnamon, the crumble was buttery and love the walnut ice cream. 
It was a light and refreshing dessert to end the meals :)

Overall the foods here are great, classic French bistro fares. There are a few misses as mentioned above, but nothing that will stop us from returning here again. Now that they have snails on their current menu, I think I must return soon before they took it off the menu :)
The service was a tad slow earlier in the night when the place was packed and there were only 2 waiter running the floor. 
The food came out fairly quickly from the kitchen from the time of ordering so we didn't have to wait too long at all, which was great as it was quite late at night and we were hungry lol

Bistro Papillon on Urbanspoon


  1. Great post and yummy looking food! But they've taken out the rabbit papadelle? Don't they know it's the year of the rabbit?? :-)

  2. I haven't had French for a while, for some reason it was unfashionable a while back. The food here looks hearty and honest. The brulee in particular looks very temptiong.

    Although I reckon I all this food will go straight to my waistline

  3. i love the French atmosphere here :-) and great food to match.

  4. joey : they've taken out the papadelle, but have replaced it with rabbit stew instead, see, they do support year of the rabbit lol

    thang : i think French cuisine is back in trend again, seems to be new French eateries popping out lately (Felix for example). They are your classic French bistro food, no fuss but taste great.

    simon : I loved it too, and you are right, the rabbit papadelle was to die for !

  5. ur photography skills just gets better. oh and what lens are you using??

    never knew there was Dita von Teese Perrier nor did i know about the cloudy Cointreau!! gonna try it next time :D

  6. betty : ouw...thank you hehehehe ^_^ still got lots to learn but ! I'm using 35mm Nikkor lens :)