Tuesday, January 14, 2014

French Dining at Le Papillon on Front

Nestled in an Old Town Toronto building, Le Papillon on Front (Twitter: @PapillonOnFront, Facebook: Le Papillon on Front) provides a relaxed yet sophisticated bistro setting in which to enjoy causal French food. The restaurant's menu calls on classic French favourites such as French onion soup, crepe and duck confit alongside contemporary seafood, steak and pasta dishes. Here's a fun fact: Did you know Le Papillon opened Toronto's first creperie in 1974? That's 40 years ago! Knowing that countless restaurants open and close within a year's time these days makes this tidbit even more fascinating.

Le Papillon on Front's large interior is warmed by its cozy warm tones.

My friend May and I went for dinner before the Christmas holidays (hence all the festive decorations).


We were both really surprised by the prepackaged butter. I honestly don't remember the last time I went to a restaurant (other than a family restaurant or diner) that served bread with prepackaged butter.

French onion soup topped with a croustini and smothered in melted Gruyere cheese 

Enveloped in a nutty Gruyere crust, this bowl of perfectly seasoned soup with sweet caramelized onions and chewy toasted crostini was rich and warming. The dark both very flavourful without being salty.

Fresh cooked mussels in a broth of wine, butter, fresh dill, onion & garlic 
Steamed in wine then served in a sauce made from the cooking liquid with butter, herbs, onion and garlic, this is my all-time favourite way to enjoy mussels. These bivalves were soft, plump and very tasty.

Cooked escargot smothered in a garlic parsley butter
These firm and luscious escargots absorbed all the garlic butter incredibly well.

Spinach, bechamel & cheddar cheese 

Real thin with slightly crispy edges, this crepe had an incredibly smooth texture (notice the shiny surface). I personally prefer a crepe that's a bit more moist but in this case, the thick and creamy mixture of spinach and cheddar in bechamel sauce made up for it. 

Leg of duck confit served with an orange Grand Marnier sauce served with potatoes and vegetables
Although the Grand Marnier sauce was nice, the duck leg was not as tender and juicy as I have hoped (it also lacked a crispy skin).

Classic dessert crepe made with fresh bananas and drizzled in chocolate syrup
Served with vanilla ice cream on the side and filled with sliced bananas, this crepe was delicious.

Rich golden cake with a hot caramel sauce and French vanilla ice cream.  A long-time Papillon favourite
 This traditional Québecois pudding was wickedly sweet but oh-so-good. Served warm, this cake was rich and moist with a delightfully crumbly crust.

*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*

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