A slice of France in Sydney
There seems to be a good range of French restaurants now in Sydney and Bistro Papillon would have to be one of the favourites I've come across so far where it's hard to pick a meal from the menu because they all sound so good and authentic. Quench your thirst with a French Kroenbourg beer ($8) or quaffable and reasonably priced French 2009 Gros Manseng Sauvignon Blanc ($8) and 2005 Chateau Riotor Rose ($7). Substantial sized Grilled Goats Cheese Toast with a Walnut and Pear Salad ($14) is easy to share as an entree or the smooth Homemade Chicken Liver Pate, Cornichons, Red Capsicum Relish and Baguette ($15) although I find it unusual to see a side salad of tomato, lettuce, egg and the capsicum relish. A hearty yet high priced Roasted Confit of Duck Leg with a White Bean Cassoulet ($35) has nice flavours and there's no shortage of prawns in the Fresh Egg Linguine, Green Prawns, Tomatoes, Baby Spinach, Garlic, Chilli and Olive Oil ($29). The dish envy of the night went to the Braised Rabbit Papadelle [Pappardelle] with Mushroom, Pancetta, Herbs and Preserved Lemon ($30) with lovely citrus notes to help cut through the dish. I'm always tempted to try the Coq au Vin ($33) from the menu which comes in a hearty red wine sauce which I order with some decently cooked fries as my included side.
For dessert the Mousse au Chocolat ($12) is served with Grand Marnier Créme Anglaise which you self-pour on top and is one of the better ones I've had around town. I can't resist ordering the Classic Crème Brûlée ($11) and thankfully it comes with a perfectly crunchy caramelised topping although was a lot more custardy than I've had before and I usually prefer it with more vanilla bean. The French service was friendly and welcoming and managed the restaurant as efficiently as possible although they probably could have done with an extra hand to help attend to customers needs. There's attention to detail with nice thick paper towels in the toilet and French posters scattered amongst the walls and even a humorous beret on the coffee machine. The decor was cosy and atmospheric and I'd happily return to try other dishes from the menu when I get the chance.
PROS: Authentic French dishes, Centrally located in the city, Friendly and passionate service, Nice decor, Good selection of affordable wines
CONS: French cooking means a lot of butter, Service can be a little slow when busy
MUST TRY: Braised Rabbit Papadelle, Crème Brûlée
Pate de Foie de Volaille: Homemade Chicken Liver Pate, Cornichons, Red Capsicum Relish and Baguette ($15)
Pates Fraiches aux Gambas: Fresh Egg Linguine, Green Prawns, Tomatoes, Baby Spinach, Garlic, Chilli and Olive Oil ($29)
Papadelle au Lapin Façon Chasseur: Braised Rabbit Papadelle with Mushroom, Pancetta, Herbs and Preserved Lemon ($30)
SIMON FAVOURITE :-)
Coq au Vin: A French Classic, Corn Fed Chicken Casserole cooked in Red wine with Bacon, Mushroom, Onion and Thyme ($33) with side of fries
2005 Chateau Riotor Rose, Cote de Provence, France ($7)
Posters from France