Formerly Restaurant 1014, Papillon opened in this pleasing spot with clear views across to Bull Island in 2014. Gone is the Art Deco décor and in its place is a stylish, pared back new look.
Papillon offers a breakfast, brunch and lunch menu, but they are really making a name for themselves with their evening tapas.
Unsurprisingly for a seaside restaurant, seafood features strongly on the menu, with dishes like prawns pil pil, Carlingford Lough rock oysters, crab and crayfish tian and their own organic home-cured salmon gravlax, while the smoked haddock parmentier with creamed leeks is the ultimate comfort food on a cold day.
A dish of Spanish olives, marinated anchovies or a plate of sourdough bread and homemade dips is the perfect way to start an evening’s feasting before moving on to more substantial tapas like lamb meatballs with chorizo and harissa, risotto beignets that are deceptively light or a classic 4oz beef fillet with béarnaise sauce and potato fondant. And if a dish is particularly moreish, you’ll feel little guilt at ordering a second helping. As is always the case with tapas, it’s easy to spend as little – or as much – as you like.
If you still have room, and continuing with the tapas theme, the Café Gourmand option – coffee with four bite-sized desserts – is the perfect end to the meal. Or if you want something bigger, a zesty lemon polenta cake, coconut crème de Catalana, Baileys cheesecake or dark chocolate mousse are on offer too.
The wine list is small and on the pricey side, but there are half a dozen that are available by the glass. For the daytime, they also stock cold-pressed juices by Sprout & Co.
If you make a booking, be sure to request a window seat so that you can enjoy the views of the Bull Island Bridge, the iconic Poolbeg towers and Dublin Bay. Or if the weather is good, you can take it all in on their outdoor terrace.
The food here is fresh and flavourful, and there is real pride both in making it and serving it.
It’s hard to thinking of a nicer way to pass an evening than sharing a few plates of delectable bites over a good glass of wine, watching the ships come and go across the bay, in the smart surroundings of Papillon.