Saturday, May 07, 2011

Cosily French at Le Papillon

Hokkaido scallops at Le PapillonLocated at a busy crossing of San Jose, Le Papillon was quite a revelation for me. Old-fashioned with low ceilings and windows with shutters, the restaurant is immediately warm and cozy. While French classics would be quite at home in such a setting, the menu is very contemporary French with Asian influences. Unlike most popular chefs who change jobs every few years, Executive Chef Scott Cooper has been cooking here forever.

They seated me at the bar as they got my table ready. I decided try the Chef's tasting menu to get a flavor of this interesting place. The waitress brought an amuse of lamb and a glass of champagne to get started. They followed with another amuse of mulligatawny soup with a dash of cilantro, and then brought a third amuse of miso marinated hamachi. Three amuse bouches in a row!

Lamb amuse at Le Papillon
Mulligutawny amuse at Le Papillon
Amuse at Le PapillonThe first course was Hokkaido Scallops. Prepared with seaweed puree, puffed rice and pickled miyoga - a unique plant with edible flower buds and shoots - this dish was quite interesting on the palate. The chilled sake went perfectly with this Japan inspired dish.

Le Papillon San JoseNext was the Heart of Palm risotto with lobster and pomelo confit. This dish was quite fantastic - the taste of tender heart of palm, the fresh lobster meat and the citrus goodness of pomelo - a fruit found in parts of Southeast Asia. The wine, a Chardonney.

Heart of Palm risotto at Le PapillonThe Heirloom Radishes came next. Served with tangerine, guanciale and rye. Again a winner with the Belgian beer.

Heirloom Radish at Le PapillonAnother amuse with the chef's compliments: this time a cheese based mousse with white truffle. Excellent with the Pinot. This restaurant certainly served me more amuses than any other!

The next course was the Breast of Squab with cauliflower hummus and liver pate tortellini. The squab was very flavorful and contrasted nicely with the accompaniments. I sipped on a deep red Cabernet as I relished the expertly cooked bird.

Squab at Le PapillonThe Wagyu beef topped with truffle-potato 'gremolata' and vincotto jus was another good one! The unique spin on tater tots worked perfectly with the tender meat. Another Cabernet accompanied this dish.

Wagyu beef at Le PapillonThe cheese plate consisted of a cow milk cheese with candied walnuts. The dessert - a palette of Chocolate - was unique and very satisfying. Hazelnut, coffee and caramel chocolates contrasted with each other in taste and texture making for a fitting ending to a perfect meal.

Cheese plate at Le Papillon
Chocolate Dessert at Le PapillonI sat for some more time sipping on hot Darjeeling after which they gave me some passion fruit caramel sweets as I waited for my cheque.

Le Papillon San Jose
All in all, a wonderful find. The ambiance, the food and the service at this restaurant comes together for a perfect dinner experience in the heart of Silicon Valley.


Anonymous said...

Shantanu, if you ever visit Melbourne u must dine in the Colonial Tramcar restaurant..

Shantanu said...

@anon: Thanks for the pointer. Will surely keep this in mind!