What? Looking out onto Regent Street, Papillon is a new all-day café on the ground floor of the Hotel Café Royal. Celebrating the best of Europe’s traditional café culture, it opens at 7:30am and stays open until 11pm serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between.
New? Relatively, it opened in the middle of June this year.
Where? Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent Street, Soho, W1B 4DY, www.hotelcaferoyal.com
On the Menu: Influenced by British and French cuisine, the menu has been created by the hotel’s new Executive chef, Jeremy Brown and Sarah Barber – the hotel’s renowned Executive Pastry chef. Typical dishes include scrambled egg with smoked salmon; broccoli and Roquefort cheese quiche; club sandwiches and quinoa, beetroot, parsley and chia seed salads. The most noticeable thing about the menu though was its Zone 1 prices – this isn’t the sort of place the average Londoner would be able to afford to go to regularly.
The Look: The space brings together the imposing architecture of Regent Street with the natural world through its large windows which look out onto Piccadilly but are filled with floral displays. Inside the design is sleek and simple, gold marble clad walls are adorned with artwork from young British and European artists and as you step through the door you’re greeted by the counter filled with pastries and freshly baked bread.
What We Ate: The first thing to say was that the food was good, it just lacked a certain je ne sais quoi – a little decoration would have made all the difference. If you want to upgrade your Eggs Benedict then go for the Iberico ham Benedict – with gloriously golden hollandaise sauce. There’s the classic poached eggs on smashed avocado which was meant to arrive on rye bread but came on sourdough (not that that was a problem) the eggs were perfectly poached, but again it just needed something to lift it – a dusting of paprika or seasoning with avocado, even a little lemon. With the brunch and breakfast market so saturated new additions need to keep up. That said, crisp hash browns were excellent, but you can’t breakfast on hash browns alone.
What We Drank: At that time in the morning it had to be coffee, the menu has the classics along with chai and matcha lattes, although at £6 a coffee you’ll probably be only ordering one. Lattes arrived strong with their art on point – full marks to the latte artist.
Go With: Open from 7:30am and in Piccadilly it makes it an ideal spot for an early morning meeting.
Final Word: Being in a 5* hotel and in the heart of London, you’d expect that your wallet would take a bit of a beating, but the £73 bill still seemed hard to justify. Save this one for the company card.
Papillon: Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent Street, Soho, W1B 4DY