French fine dining is hard to do well — and even harder to do well on a budget. While Métisse certainly isn't cheap, it does afford the rare occasion to taste refined French fare without breaking the bank. And it's all thanks to hospitality veteran and chef Opel Khan.
Khan has previously managed and owned 15 Australian restaurants, including the now-closed Surry Hills' French-Indian resto Guru and Beluga. For this venture, he has brought a team of French chefs to Potts Point, including head chef Benoit Lollichon (who previously worked at the three-Michelin starred Guy Savoy restaurant).
The dining room is as stunning as ever, though reminiscent of its predecessors: Grant King's elaborate Gastro Park and his short-lived Antipodean. The palette is still predominantly grey, but shiny new black tables come adorned with elegant ceramic tableware and at the centre of the space sits a long white communal table, over which hangs a cloud-like chandelier. The space has a romantic appeal — and so does the food.
As far as special occasions go, Métisse's eight-course degustation (vegetarian option available) is hard to beat for quality and value. It includes thoughtfully paired wines for a rather reasonable $100, allowing guests to enjoy the fine dining atmosphere without the opulent prices.
Those eight courses include the standout fruits de mer, which is beautifully presented on coral and in individual sea shells. It includes a 'hot and cold' raw oyster covered in a creamy sauce, a plump and buttery scallop on a bed of celeriac purée and fresh crab salad.
Another artfully plated dish is the pumpkin parfait with thinly shaved foie gras paired with a brioche crisp and beetroot. The palate cleanser is even something special: an inventive capsicum sorbet served in a tea cup.
But the real reason you should order the degustation is for the house specialty: duck a l'orange. Mille feuille-style layers of crispy duck confit and potato arrive with a caramelised orange jelly and a pure gold-dusted quail egg. The golden egg is an unnecessary addition, but not unwelcome and does bring the dish together nicely.
This is followed by Métisse's excellent tournedos rossini. This pink-centred filet is coated with a thin layer of foie gras and served in a wine reduction and truffle oil sauce alongside delicately charred parsnip and leek.
The team has also nailed the matched wines — the degustation comes with four different glasses — which genuinely work to enhance the meal. At the moment, those include two exceptional drops from Bordeaux, as well as one from New Zealand and Australia.
Overall, the portions are modest yet ample, and we were didn't leave hungry — which is not always the case with fine dining affairs. If you're keen on ordering a la carte instead, those prices are reasonable as well. All entrees are priced at $18, all sides (including truffled mash) at $10 and mains at $28.