French restaurant review: Metropolitain in Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
Hearty French comfort food in Sai Ying Pun
On a recent spring evening, my friend and I walked out of the rain and into Metropolitain’s cozy front terrace. Sitting facing the street, we gradually relaxed and warmed up, ready for some good ol’ comfort food. This Sai Ying Pun hotspot has been around for five years, and is a neighbourhood favourite. But even good things can be improved, and the recent now has a fresh vibe with a new menu and a new restaurant manager.
Matt, their new affable manager, explained the new features of the menu. In the past, the focus was on classic French dishes: tartares, salads, and a large selection of mains such as duck confit, roast chicken, and lamb shank. Now the menu is focused on grills and seafood, though perpetual best sellers still remain on the menu.
We started with one of these best sellers, the warm camembert ($208). It was a chilly evening, and nothing sounded better than hot, gooey cheese! It was an excellent choice, with the camembert being smooth yet stinky in all the right ways. Usually it comes with potatoes, but we asked for salad and bread because we had two potato dishes to come (#carblife). A glass of red from Macon (in Burgundy) was recommended for this dish, and it went very well.
Next we moved onto the hanger steak ($218 for 250g), accompanied by the gratin dauphinois ($68) and truffled mashed potato ($88). The steak itself was quite tender; perhaps not the tastiest beef I’ve ever had but was cooked well and accompanied by a small pot of delicious beef jus and a dish of sinful bearnaise sauce.
I sliced the gratin dauphinois in half and passed half to my friend, but instantly regretted it when I took my first bite. The thin layers of potato managed to be almost flaky. Super delicious. At the price, I’d recommend getting a portion for each person. The truffled mashed potato was also super smooth and moreish.
While we were quite full, we wanted to try the delicious sounding linguine “Billi Bi” with creamy curry sauce and mussels ($178). This dish smelled fantastic, but was a bit too delicate for our palate. Perhaps our taste buds were overwhelmed by all the other things we’d eaten, but we could barely taste the curry sauce. And the sauce itself was quite thin. The mussels were nice and fresh though.
Cheese, steak, pasta, wine...clearly we were in a “go big or go home” kind of mood. So for dessert, we ordered another indulgent option: the chocolate fondant cake ($78). Chef Frank suggested we might also want to try their new orange sorbet ($68). It was a great recommendation as we loved it. It tasted just like a fresh orange, though the texture was more like a granita than a smooth sorbet. Very refreshing, and perfect for summer or in our case after a heavy meal.
Chef Frank and Manger Matt
Metropolitain is reliable, casual spot for French food. We’ll definitely be back for the camembert and the orange sorbet. In addition to the new menu, they’ve also changed up the chairs in the front terrace. Now they’re a white and green wicker, and adds to the charming vibe of the place. It was great for a cozy, rainy evening, and I imagine it’s even more charming over brunch when the sun is shining down.
Aspen Court, 46 High St, Sai Ying Pun, 6271 6102
*By invitation, for Foodie