Papillon Restaurant Celebrating 11th anniversary

Tell me, is there anything better than launching festivities in honor of the 11th anniversary with a new chef, GrietVanBrabant, a passionate culinarian from Belgium, a true nomad, who having crisscrossed the world, returned to her fondly-remembered Caribbean paradise, to share what she’s learned on her travels, through Spain, Australia, Mexico, Turk & Caicos, Laos, the DR, and Italy, with us.

Think about it, the courage and giddy-up it takes to repeatedly pack your toque and ginsu knives to move around the planet in search of new culinary sensations, then home to where it started back in 2009, to Papillon Restaurant in Aruba, to reconnect with Tina Van Mal and her dedicated crew.

This week, until November 11th, 2020, you may savor an 11 course anniversary menu at Papillonrestaurant with perfectly matched wines, at $111, per person.

Back in 2009, Papillon restaurant started serving tastings to friends and family members so that they could appreciate the cuisine and wine selections, in small, European portions, over the course of a leisurely enjoyed soiree. Not surprisingly, patrons came back for more, requesting seasonal changing taste adventures, and challenging the chef to new artistic, culinary and technical heights, including molecular gastronomy, that was just a few years old, and still relatively new on the island.

In a flash, the restaurant turned five, and celebrated the landmark with a 5-course tasting menu with 5 wines, for $50 dollars.

Then the following year on the 6th anniversary, you can already guess what took place.

Tina and her crew made a decision to reach the 10th anniversary and stop.

But 2020 is an unusual year, and Tina felt Aruba’s foodies deserved a distraction, a treat, a trip, a sensation, an 11-course dinner menu!

So what’s cooking, chef Griet?

A total of eleven interesting dishes, some are recipes of top rated places Chef Griet worked in over the years, all prepared with a local accent, featuring island ingredients. As a strong proponent of the Farm to Table Movement Chef Griet takes full advantage of all that’s grown and cultivated here.

Menu highlights include Funchi Crackers topped with salt fish cream, pickled red onions and Tamarillo — don’t be shy, you can ask, it’s the egg-shaped reddish fruit, we see in local markets. Red Snapper Crudo, with avocado, lulo foam – another tropical fruit, and pica di papaya. Did you notice the nice Ying and Yang effect, the lovely balance between contrasting forces, salty, creamy, crunchy, hot, sour and sweet?

Many of Chef Griet’s dishes also enjoy a layering of bold flavors, her Fresh Shrimp course is served with mango cucumber salad, tamarind sauce, and cilantro and her Leg of Lamb is braised in MagicMangoBalashi beer, her Smoked Octopus lounges on a bed of tangy watercress.

The complementary yet opposing element are further enhanced by unique plating and presentations: Have you ever tried Lollipop Keshi Yena, or Webo C24, our much-loved deviled eggs with a Catalonian truffle twist?!    

A vegan dish with Moringa oil, because she can Vegan too, and two desserts, round up of the offerings.

Kavey Yarzagaray created the pairing with wines by TEC and Hodgson Trading> A Sugar Cane Mojito sets the tone as a starter, topped with Sicilian prosecco!

“Our intention is to give locals and visitors a unique culinary experience at great value, to cheer up their perspective on life,”, says owner Tina van Mal.

But make a reservation, because space is limited, and If you like it, tell everyone.

You may also enjoy a bit of magic at home: Chef Griet and restaurant owner Tina van Mal are offering private chef services, the same delicious food and attention to detail, at HOME. They will show up at your residence, and perform magic in your kitchen.,

Best of all, they clean up!


“We would like to give our guests what they want, safe in the privacy of their home, with their friends, a customized relaxing experience, in slippers, at affordable rates” says owner Tina van Mal.


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November 03, 2020
Rona Coster