As predicted in my little food crawl of Sai Ying Pun (read it here), the area is continuing to expand, with more and more restaurants beginning to see the draw, particularly given the near-completion of the Centre Street escalator. French Creations, the group behind much loved Pastis, Le Boudoir and other typically French creations, has jumped on the bandwagon with the recent opening of Metropolitain on High Street.
With the slogan ‘let us transport you to a happy place’, Metropolitain is based around the theme of the Paris Métro, with wrought iron arches and giant maps of Paris adorning the walls. The tables and chairs spilling out onto the awning-covered terrace instantly remind you of a bustling Parisian bistro where friends will linger over a glass of rosé or three.
Inside the restaurant, marble topped tables line one side of the room, whilst on the other, a long bar with metal stools looks over an open kitchen, led by the friendliest Frenchman you could ever meet, Chef Frank Lebiez. On the night we went, all tables were reserved, yet we were more than happy to sit at the bar and ogle all the food being prepared in front of us.
Unable to decide what not to order, as the whole menu looked delicious, we asked Frank to offer his suggestions for the best dishes on the menu, the first of which was a traditional salmon tartar. Frank says he perfected this recipe years ago and it has never changed since. It is light, well-seasoned and bursting with flavour, due to the finely chopped gherkins that added a welcome tang.
The warm goat’s cheese salad with lavender dressing was utter perfection. Goat’s cheese has got to be one of the best things in the world; served oozingly warm on crusty bread with lightly-dressed salad leaves, it is even better. I have eaten this exact dish in a bistro in Paris; I closed my eyes and for a second I was back there.
Who says you can only have two starters between two people? Frank advised us we could have a third, if we had only a small portion; so a small portion of homemade foie gras terrine is exactly what we had. The terrine was beautifully smooth and intensely rich, at which point the sweet brioche toast and apricot, prune and raisin chutney came into play to create a heavenly, dangerously moreish treat.
Moving on to main courses, the braised lamb shank with olive oil mashed potato was as heavenly as it sounds. The meat simply fell off the bone, melting happily in the mouth, and the mash was so tasty and creamy it must have been bad for us.
Surprisingly however, although I might not have initially picked it over the duck magret or the fillet of beef, the pan-fried seabass fillet was even more delicious. Every mouthful of perfectly cooked fish, complete with a dollop of sweet celeriac puree, sauce vierge and diced vegetables was light, summery and truly comforting.
Usually at this stage of the meal I am far too full to contemplate a whole dessert to myself. However, unable to decide between the tarte tatin and the chocolate fondant, we of course had to savour both. The tarte tatin was exceptional, with the perfect balance of flaky pastry and soft, slightly tart apples. The chocolate fondant meanwhile passed the ooze test with flying colours, where in fact there was more goo than cake, instantly bringing a smile to both of our faces. I might even go as far as saying that this is the best chocolate fondant in Hong Kong.
Service was exceptional from start to finish, something you wouldn’t even expect of a true French bistro. The total bill for two of us including an excellent bottle of 2009 Bordeaux came to around $1200. We left Metropolitain after a lovely evening, full to the brim of delicious comfort food and already planning our next visit to make sure we are one day able to try every single item on the menu…except perhaps the snails…
G/F, 46 High Street
Sai Ying Pun
Tel: +852 6271 6102