Recipe: Chicken Croustillant ‘Cigar’ by L’Hotel Gitan’s Rotem Papo

Chicken Croustillant by L'Hotel Gitan's Rotem Papo. Photo: Supplied

Chicken Croustillant by L’Hotel Gitan’s Rotem Papo. Photo: Supplied


  • 2kg chicken thigh, confit
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 15g sage, chiffonnade
  • 350g prunes, diced
  • 3 tsp five spice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bric pastry

Sweat onion, garlic and sage. Add five spice and allow to fragrance. Cool and combine with prunes and chicken. Mix until evenly combined.

Season with salt and pepper.

Roll tightly in bric pastry (12cm) to form a cigar shape. Seal with flour, glue and brush with clarified butter.

Tomato relish

  • 1 onion, medium brunoise
  • 4 long red chillies, seeded and diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 tomatoes, blanched, skinned and chopped
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 dsp brown mustard seeds
  • 100g white sugar
  • 200ml white wine vinegar
  • 6 cardamom pods

Sautee onion, garlic and chilli in blend oil. Add spices and allow to cook out.

Add tomato, sugar and vinegar.

Cook until all liquids have nearly gone.


Rotem Papo is the new head chef at Prahran’s L’Hotel Gitan. Photo: Raoul Gerard Photography

Rotem Papo is the new head chef at Prahran’s L’Hotel Gitan. Photo: Raoul Gerard Photography

Rotem Papo is the new head chef at Prahran’s L’Hotel Gitan. Raised in in Israel by his Bulgarian mother and Moroccan grandmother, he trained at top restaurants in Europe and the Middle East, before heading south to work at Melbourne’s The European and La Petanque in Red Hill. It’s hardly surprising he was promoted to head chef at Gitan so quickly.


MIDDLE EASTERN CUISINE \ It’s the most underrated … especially Israeli cuisine. It’s fresh and incorporates plenty of vegetables, and there’s a lot of variety. I still haven’t found a good place to eat it in Melbourne.

LONG LUNCHES \ MoVida Next Door is a great place where you can spend hours and just keep eating in a cool, casual setting with great wine and great food.

TOMATOES \ They are so versatile and packed with flavour. They’re at the centre of Mediterranean cooking, which is what we are doing at L’Hotel Gitan.

NEW DISCOVERY \ Mader Pinto Gris – it’s just so balanced and beautiful.

LOCAL WATERING HOLE \ Rufus in Prahran – it has a great selection of wine and spirits and the service is just great.

ITALY \ Because I love tomatoes. I am going there in September and can’t wait; we are in the planning stages but will definitely be visiting Rome and the Amalfi Coast.

MOST MEMORABLE MEAL \ It was at the first restaurant I worked in as a chef, Catit in Israel – a 12-course degustation showcasing Israeli cuisine. It was my first experience of fine dining and the experience has stayed with me.





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