Back in December, like every year, my girlfriends and I had a meal at a nice Franchouillard restaurant for our pre-Christmas-madness catch-up. This year we decided to try Bistro Papillon, in the heart of Sydney CBD, near Wynyard Station.
Like last year at the same period, the weather was miserable, so it was comforting to step into a warmer and friendlier environment!
Bistro Papillon is a relatively recent addition in the CBD, run by two Frenchmen: Xavier, the front of house and Ludovic in the kitchen.
The décor and ambiance are traditionally French, as is the menu, which comprises many classics like Duck Confit, Snails, Coq au Vin, as well as their signature “Tartines“, a kind of open sandwiches, which must be perfect for a quick lunch.
We had all our time to enjoy our dinner, but I love my Snails so much that I could hardly wait to tuck in once they were brought to me… big mistake: those things were scalding hot and burnt my palate alright (ouch!)
Apart from that they were nice, garlicky and buttery, I could easily have eaten a dozen more. More slowly though
My friend chose some smooth and tasty Chicken liver pâté, served with plenty of fresh baguette slices, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
My other friend chose the Tartine Norvégienne as an entrée: a generous slice of organic sourdough bread garnished with smoked salmon, crème fleurette and avocado: she loved it.
I saw that they also offered “Tarte Flambée” or “Flammekueche” (= tart baked in the flames), a specialty from Alsace and Germany, which consists in a very thin crusted tart, very flat and cooked in a wood-fire oven like a pizza, with cream, lardons (speck) and onions… and let me tell you, that’s what I will get next time I visit, because from what I remember from the one I had in Colmar years ago, they are simply delicious!
For my main, I chose Moules Poulette and ordered a side of Frites. With mayonnaise of course. They came in a lovely pot, with plenty of white wine and cream sauce to be soaked with bread.
I looove mussels. When I lived in Lyon we used to go regularly to “Bleu de Toi“, a tiny restaurant set up like a fisherman’s boat cabin, serving exclusively Mussels, with all kinds of sauces and combinations imaginable. The restaurant was so cramped, that the waitresses had to show real ingenuousness and stacking skills to fit all the dishes on the table, which I found very impressive (I worked at a restaurant once and was probably the clumsiest waitress you’ve ever seen!). I’ve found it hard since to resist ordering mussels whenever I see them on a menu!
My friend thought her main of Prawn Linguine was delicious.
My other friend declared the Duck Confit lovely, with a very tender meat, crispy skin and nice accompanying sauce and lentils.
For dessert, I couldn’t go past the Crème Brûlée, which was very nice and ticked all the boxes: nice caramelised crust on top, creamy vanilla goodness under… Miam!
My friend enjoyed the generous portion of Tarte Tatin, if only would have preferred it more moist, but it went well with the cream and walnut ice-cream.
The menu explains that the Dauphin cheese is “made from local cow’s milk in the scenic hills of the Rhone Valley” and that “the silky texture soft and deliciously creamy”: my friend couldn’t agree more.
On the whole a pleasant experience, despite a pretty loud room, with good food, a friendly and efficient service, which makes Bistro Papillon a good option at reasonable prices in the CBD.
98 Clarence Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9262 2402