Papillon restaurant - Athens, Greece
To look at the nondescript one-storey building – despite its tony address on a busy street in an upscale residential suburb in northern Athens – you’d be hard-pressed to imagine what a quiet feat of imagination Minas Kosmidis has wrought inside.
Drawing on the mood and lines of bistrots in Paris and New York, the Thessaloniki-based studio reorganised the flow of the space by concentrating the initial buzz at the bar and foyer: a generously proportioned room with heavy bronze cross beams that’s anchored by a broad bar topped with white Volakas marble, and lit with glow-globes and furnished with Bentwood chairs, high stools, and Venetian rattan back panels.
Further in, the dining room with its crudo bar at the far end is equally evocative in its unabashed classicism. Trimmed with bronze, accented with Cole and Son floral wallpaper and walnut, the ensemble is capped with a glass pitched roof to accentuate the illusion that you’ve stepped into a fin de siècle European garden.
Stepping up to the mark, executive chef Giannis Markadakis harnesses regional produce into his Italian and French menu that’s sprinkled with the likes of pumpkin risotto with sherry cream, thyme and marjoram, a confit of duck leg glazed with Cabernet, and skate sauced with butter and capers.