Potts Point’s new restaurant Métisse is undoubtedly luxurious – from its minimal-chic décor to its delicately arranged plate presentation – but what it is not is pretentious.
Let’s be honest: French cuisine has long been associated with delicacy, opulence and a touch of hauter. In the words of Paul Freedman, Chester D. Tripp Professor of History at Yale University, French dining has had “alongside excellence, a reputation for snobbery” for centuries.
But the minute you meet the chef and restaurateur Opel Khan, it becomes clear why his restaurant breaks assumptions. Approachable, friendly and enthusiastic, Opal’s passion is palpable.
He and his wife Julie, who is also heavily involved in the restaurant, warmly greet their guests and often serve the food. He comes over to my table with a welcoming smile and says, “Please, order anything you want!”
Métisse in French means “mixed-race”, a nod to Opel’s Bangladeshi–Australian heritage. Opel trained in France and has hired a team of French chefs and waitstaff. His head chef, Benoit Lollichon, is a graduate of three Michelin-starred Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris.
A penchant for cooking runs in the family; Opel’s daughter Lucinda is the sous-chef.
The basis of the menu is affordable luxury; you can consume excellent French fare at Métisse without the outrageous prices. Dine à la carte during the week with A$25 entrée options and A$32 mains. Or select the five-course dégustation with wine pairing at A$100 per person or an eight-course dégustation with wine set at A$145 per person, both with vegetarian options.
The dégustation commences with a Harewood Estate Sparkling Mira Cuvee from Denmark, Western Australia, followed by French drops such as a Les Jamelles Pinot Noir and Santa Duc 2015 Grenache Syrah, to accompany the increasingly substantial dishes.
The first course is amuse-gueule – in this case, a deliciously light and creamy carrot soup – the perfect dish to kick-start your appetite. An entrée like the delightful nutty, cold fusion of pumpkin tarte Tatin with pumpkin seed ice cream leaves you longing for more.
The Spring Bay scallops accompanied by cauliflower, radish and apple are skillfully cooked – truly melt-in-your-mouth – and the flavours are gracefully combined.
And what is a French restaurant without the classic duck à l’orange? Giving the traditional dish an innovate twist, Métisse’s duck à l’orange terrine is layered with potato and comes with flavoursome pickled kumquat and foie gras.
A mouth-watering, tender beef rossini is the king of the dégustation, presented on a bed of sautéed greens and topped with a delicate slice of potato.
The vegetarian options are equally delectable. The uniquely savoury–sweet fromage velvet with three-textured beetroot, tomato, marshmallow and white polenta with confit mushrooms will knock your vegetarian socks off.
The ‘symphonie of micro garden’ shows that there is no dull dish at Métisse, and makes an array of vegetables both delicious and filling.
All dégustation options should end with chocolaté; the melt-in-your-mouth trilogy of chocolate and salted caramel topped with chocolate meringue is guaranteed to elicit an “oo là là”.
This rapidly-changing pocket of Sydney is positively blooming in its resurge of fine dining, with Potts Point now home to numerous destinations for notably good food. Opal has made it his mission to bring high quality produce to diners at a comparably lower price, with wine-matched degustations baffling in their value.
For more like this, see our review of Green Moustache in Sydney’s second CBD.