Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Touch of Paris @ Bistro Papillon

Bistros are defined mostly by home-style cooking with robust wholesome dishes, including slow-cooked foods to suit this time of year. On that front, Bistro Papillon is an absolute champion. Tonight’s gathering is called to celebrate the ageing of my youthful sister with two of her best friends.

Bistro Papillon is rather small accommodating fewer than 40 customers at a time. It is the real deal however, with French chefs, French waiter, serving regional and authentic French food and French wines. The service is friendly and welcoming, and came with a smile on a charming face and a French accent. Together with the classic French posters on the wall, we felt like we are in Paris for a few hours.

Tucked away on a quiet stretch of Clarence Street

 With classic French posters on the wall

A lovely, cosy setting with candle lights

Tonight I had the Cassoulet Toulousain, which is a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, containing confit duck leg, pork belly, smoke sausage, white beans and vegetables. It is by far the best Cassoulet I’ve ever had. Starting from the moment the casserole is brought in front of me, I am infatuated by the wonderful aromas. The duck confit is wonderful and the meat just fell off the bone. The chucks of pork belly are unbelievably tender and tasty. The entire dish is a joy to eat – I do not normally like haricot beans (maybe due to association with baked beans from the can) but couldn’t resist the white beans here that are so soft and appetizing.

I also had some of the pan fried spring chicken supreme wrapped in pancetta. It is served with a creamy wild mushroom sauce and is an extremely rich and flavoursome dish, best complimented by a crispy garden salad. Worthy to note is that some of the mains (marked with an asterisk on the menu, including the spring chicken and the rabbit casserole) include a choice of side dish - what a fantastic deal. I did not try the rabbit casserole as I use to have pet rabbits, but our friend loved it and demolished the whole dish. She ordered a side of home-made spaetzle, which are bits of cheesy, chewy egg noodle dumpling, and is ultra comforting.

For desserts we ordered crème brulee and profiteroles to share. The crème brulee is the best I've had in a long long time - with a fine, thin caramelised crust on top and creamy vanilla goodness underneath. The profiteroles are a crowd pleaser with its combination of hot (chocolate sauce) and cold (vanilla ice cream).

Bistro Papillon’s unpretentious attitude in offering simply delicious food in a warm, cosy setting definitely won me over. I am getting hungry just looking at these pictures again and will definitely be looking to return soon.

L Loves… Cassoulet Toulousain
Confit Duck Leg, Pork Belly and Smoked Sausage, White Beans and Vegetables 

Suprême de Volaille Forestière
Pan Fried Spring Chicken Suprême Wrapped in Pancetta Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

Lapin à la Moutarde
Rabbit Casserole, White Wine, 
Seeded Mustard, Cream, Mushrooms and Carrots

Homemade Spaetzle

Profiteroles with Vanilla Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce

L Loves… Crème Brulée à la Vanille Bourbon 

L's Verdict:

·   Taste: 9/10
·   Ambience: 4/5
·   Value: 3.5/5
·   Service: 4/5
·  Creativity and other WOW factors: 3/5 

Overall rating: 23.5/30
Bistro Papillon
98 Clarence Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9262 2402
Open Mon – Fri for lunch,
Tues – Sat for dinner

Visited September 2012
Friendly advice: Make sure you book ahead as this little bistro does get quite busy, even during weekdays. Once you’re there, I’m sure you’ll be in good hands… relax, enjoy, bon appétit!

Bistro Papillon on Urbanspoon


  1. loveeee the fact that theres so much creamy sauce surrounding the Pan Fried Spring Chicken!

    1. They are very generous with their sauce - and although they are creamy, they are not too heavy and we polished off every plate wanting more! :)

  2. How good were the spaetzle!! Mlady liked them but didn't get many as they kept disappearing. It's good to see a dish like this on a French menu - showing Ludovic's other influences.