17 July 2013

Bistro Papillon: French Bastille Day Menu, CBD Sydney (13 July 2013)

98 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000

La Fête Nationale in Sydney

It's been over 2 years and 9 months since I first dined at Bistro Papillon and it's great to see they're still going strong in this very competitive restaurant market in Sydney. Of course the friendly and professional French service and intimate cosy decor with nice background music is a drawcard but I'm sure their rustic comfort dishes are a big winner in the equation. The Bastille Day 5 course menu ($85 per person) included a welcome drink, amuse-bouche, entree, palate cleanser, main and dessert which I thought was quite good value considering there were a few choices on the menu to keep everyone happy. I chose the Kir Royale served with white wine rather than champagne which still sort of worked but was missing the palate refreshing bubbles you'd expect. A wooden platter of salmon tartare and beef tartare on toasted baguette for the amuse-bouche had nice flavours and was easy to eat. We ordered a bottle of 2011 Chateau Lamothe Vincent ($55) which ended up being a great choice with enjoyable flavour and soft tannins.

My Escargots de Bourgogne were tender with a good hit of flavour from the garlic and parsley butter. A crowd pleasing dish loved by the table. The Assiette de Charcuterie Maison had an enjoyable selection of chicken liver parfait, cured ham and venison terrine. I've never had a palate cleanser served with vodka but I'd be happy to have it again. Went well with the Lime & Lemon Sorbet. My Confit of Duck Leg was cooked well with a crisp skin and tender meat served with white beans, vegetables and fresh herbs underneath. I thought the sauce could have benefitted from a bit more robust flavour with extra seasoning. The Fish and Seafood Stew looked good with a nice flavoured broth although I would have loved to see more seafood and less potato like the bouillabaisse at Uncorked in North Sydney. Pan Fried Grain Fed Beef Fillet was tender and flavoursome with a lovely béarnaise sauce. Roasted Quail Breasts wrapped in Pancetta were very good sitting in a tasty porcini mushroom and green peppercorn sauce.

For dessert the Classic Crème Brulée was a winner. Served in a shallow dish made for a good ratio of custard and perfect caramel topping with each spoonful. The French imported cheeses plate was quality rather than quantity but by then the rich dishes were more than enough to feel satisfied. I tried Chartreuse ($12) straight up for the first time. With 55% alcohol it's not for mere mortals. Lots of herbal aroma and flavour with a lethal kick reminded me of schnapps. It'll burn your nose hairs if you breathe it in. Our service was friendly and professional which made the night so pleasant along with the good food. Leg room can get a bit tight around the small tables but other than that its left fond memories of another visit. The naked woman and snail lamps around the room are quite eye-catching and were recently bought from the Beaujolais Bistro Bar in Bath UK which closed its doors after 40 successful years. Let's hope Bistro Papillon will continue the French dining experience in Sydney for just as long.

PROS: Friendly, down-to-earth and professional service, Enjoyable dishes, Nice decor and atmosphere, Quality wines
CONS: Avoid parking in the city unless you're willing to pay, 
MUST TRY: Escargots de Bourgogne, Classic Crème Brulée, Chartreuse (if you can handle the lethal kick)
VERDICT: A very enjoyable experience overall that tempts me to return for a lunch time visit to try more of the menu.

Bastille Day Menu ($85 pp, 5 courses)

Complimentary welcome drink of Champagne and Kir Royale (with white wine) — nice start
Amuse bouche of salmon tartare and beef tartare on toasted baguette — both nice flavour and easy to eat
2011 Chateau Lamothe Vincent, Bordeaux Rouge, Bordeau, France ($55 bottle) — very enjoyable with lovely soft tannins
Tasting notes
Escargots de Bourgogne: Burgundy snails baked in a garlic and parsley butter, toasted baguette — tender, good flavour
Assiette de Charcuterie Maison: Chicken liver parfait, cured ham, venison terrine and saucisson sec condiments and baguette — good and enjoyable
Trou Normand: Palate Cleanser with Lime & Lemon Sorbet served with Vodka
Canard Confit en Cocotte: Confit of Duck Leg with White Beans, Vegetables and Fresh Herbs — nicely cooked duck
Beans and sauce in quite a light sauce
Nage de Poissons et Crustacés Façon Bouillabaisse - Fish and Seafood Stew with Kipler Potatoes, Grilled Bread and Sauce Rouille - flavour good
Filet de Boeuf Sauce Béarnaise: Pan Fried Grain Fed Beef Fillet and Béarnaise Sauce (cooked medium) — tender and flavoursome
Suprêmes de Caille aux Cèpes: Roasted Quail Breasts wrapped in Pancetta with a Porcini Mushroom and Green Peppercorn sauce — nice sauce and meat cooked well
Dauphinois Potato Gratin — nice, would have loved thinner slices of layered potato
Crisp Green Salad ($6) — fresh and nice dressing
Mixed Buttered Vegetables
Extra bread and olive oil ($6)
Classic Crème Brulée — nice flavours, excellent caramel top, shallow dish making it a good ratio of custard and caramel
French imported cheeses plate with pear chutney and organic sourdough — soft cheese very nice, smallish pieces but quality and distinctive flavour
Chartreuse ($12) — very herbal notes and lethally strong at 55%
Real men sip Chartreuse right ;-)
Bill $459 for 4, friendly and professional service, cosy decor, table leg room a bit tight, nice background music and setting
Cosy and intimate setting for a romantic night

Service and kitchen team plus a passionate supportive customer
There's always room for a few naked woman and snail lamps bought from Beaujolais Bistro Bar, Bath UK

Waiting area outside toilets
Very small but well looked after toilet. Gentleman, be sure to lock the door behind you otherwise there's no way someone is going to be able to use that sink right next to the urinal

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Bistro Papillon on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Looks like great value for the money. Good traditional French food is not something you have everyday. Love to try their escargots and duck confit, I hope they have them in their regular menu. So did you get your nose hairs burnt off? :)

Simon Leong said...

hi lateraleating, i believe they're both on the regular menu since they're classics. i definitely lost a few nose hairs during the process hehe ;-)

Richard Elliot said...

I really enjoyed my dinner there. Best French food in Sydney?

Simon Leong said...

hi richard, good to hear you enjoyed your dinner there. i've also heard very good things about Tastevin so it's on my wishlist for next time :-)

Sir and Maldy Dine Out said...

Hi Simon. We had the pleasure of dining at Bistro Papillon recently and also thoroughly enjoyed it. Looks like we had some similar dishes at timnes - as well as the same wine! It certainly is nice comfort food!

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