Having walked past this tiny and cute French restaurant before, we made a spontaneous reservation at Bistro Papillon for a special dinner, hoping to experience some authentic French dining.
We started with a serve of escargot, and got an extra baguette on the side. The snails were served without their shells, and were in a flower shaped bowl that kept them warm! The snails were delicious and tender, and it was nice not having to worry about de-shelling them. However, we didn’t find the garlic sauce to be as strong and flavourful as we would have liked.
We then moved on to mains. I had the cassoulet toulousain, which was a confit duck leg, pork and smoked sausage served in a tomato based sauce with white beans and vegetables. It was very delicious and flavourful, and the meat was so tender, which was pleasing. The quantity was very large though, so after a while the richness of the dish was overpowering, and it would’ve been nice to have had bread to dip into it. I also tried some of the Onglet De Beuf, which was cooked very nicely, and was served with some very crunchy and crisp french fries!
Finally, it was time for dessert, and we shared a Tarte Tartin, served with rum and raisin ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream. While I didn’t enjoy the ice cream, finding the alcohol flavour too harsh, the pastry of the tarte was so light and fluffy and the inside perfectly sweet and decadent. The cream especially was a highlight, as it was thick but still light, and complemented the dense tarte very well.
There was minimal seating inside the restaurant, so it was a very intimate and cosy dining experience, which was nice! We had a good view of the kitchen, and the staff were attentive and helpful, apart from one minor issue with forgetting to bring vanilla ice cream rather than rum and raisin with the tarte tartin. Food came out quickly, and we were able to have all three courses under an hour and a half, which was very efficient!
We really enjoyed sampling some hearty French meals in such a cosy setting on a slightly cooler day. Be sure to leave room for dessert, as the tarte tartin is a must!