Lovely plates of food from Christophe Saintagne
Papillon is on Rue Meissonier in the 17th arrondissement in the Plaine Monceau neighbourhood, an upscale part of the city. Closest metro is Wagram. Here is my friend Marg having a little dance outside the gorgeous blue facade of the restaurant
In some ways Papillon’s aesthetic reminded me a little of Porte 12 with its deep blue hues and metallic accents.
There’s a fairly large main dining room with a geometric floor pattern and simple smart wooden tables and chairs with burnt orange sofas lining the back walls.
There’s an additional narrow room at the back of this space that sits 12 or so people. I assume this is reserved for private dining though there is no door separating the two rooms; in this room you’ll find a figurine of Flash Gordon stacked up on a ledge in the corner but when I enquired about its significance they said it was just meant to be playful piece of decor. Overall, Papillon has a understated modern luxury look and feel to it which I liked.
FOOD & SERVICE
So, Christophe Saintagne, former head chef at Le Meurice has set up his own shop and surprisingly was the one who came to take our order. It was quite a busy lunchtime service, so perhaps it was an all hands on deck situation and the chef himself decided to muck in and help out the front of house, which I rather admired. His demeanour was quite no nonsense “tell me what you want, don’t dick around and ask me a ton of bullshit questions” which was a little intimidating but he wasn’t at all rude.
My friend’s and I opted for the set menu at €32 for x2 courses. I managed to control myself and not lunge for the bread basket and thus limit room for the actual dishes due to come out.
The first plate of grilled asparagus with a thin layer of melted comté cheese and tarragon, with bits of what looked like charcoal to me, got things off to a good start.
I feel like chicken gets a bad rep for being bland and an uninspiring meat for chefs to serve. However, when you understand flavours and know how to spice up this bird it can really deliver. The balance of sweet and savoury was well measured and made this aubergine and chicken dish a true delight.
We decided against dessert as we were having a full on meal in the evening (pussies I know) but the kitchen offered us madeleines fresh from the oven (literately still in the tray) as a treat and who were we to refuse? The madeleine was insanely buttery with a little smattering of honey – an absolute triumph. I would return to Papillon purely on this basis alone.
Had a cheeky few sips of my friend’s cider which was super refreshing and moreish.
From the conversations being had around, it sounded like a largely Parisian crowd, some business peeps, fabulous retired ladies and gents that lunch. It was buzzy and relaxed but felt upscale at the same time. I reckon it pulls in a sophisticated 30s crowd come evening time.
The set menu was €32, add on this an alcoholic bevvy and you’re looking at about €40 for lunch incl. service. Not cheap but it’s nice to treat yourself from time to time.
THE TAKE OUT
French food with a distinctly modern edge, in a good look setting that I’d definitely revisit.
Cuisine: Modern French
Avg cost Inc. an alcoholic bevvy: £36-45 [£££]
Address: 8 Rue Meissonier, 75017 Paris
Hours: Open Mon-Fri 12:00-14:30 | 19:00-22:30. Closed at the weekend
Phone: +33 (0) 1 56 79 81 88
LAST VISITED JUN 2016