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Square Meal Review of Papillon ?


When it opened in 2006, Papillon’s grown-up looks were a perfect match for its smart Brompton Cross clientele. The sophisticated curves & subtle palette still strike the right note, but the arrival of new chef Tom Hempstead (ex-1 Lombard Street) signals a change of direction in the kitchen. Haute cuisine has been ditched in favour of a menu of hearty regional French classics lifted straight from bourgeois cookbooks of old – witness the likes of sole ‘bonne femme’ & a generous cutlet of veal ‘grandmère’ in a rich jus. Side dishes also play to conservative Chelsea tastes, including a superb cast-iron cocotte of paper-thin boulangère potatoes. Starters such as deep-fried crottin de Chavignol with a perky leaf salad & sun-blush tomatoes are pure bistro, while desserts (cinnamon-tinged apple tart with Calvados caramel, say) make no apologies for being old-fashioned. The carefully conceived wine list leans heavily towards France.


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Essential Details for Papillon

  • Cuisine: French
  • Area: Chelsea
  • Price: £50.00
  • Wine: £18.50
  • Champagne: £39.00
  • Lunch: ££16.50/19.50 (2/3 courses)

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