Stick the ‘hip’ pin in a map of Hong Kong and as often as not you’ll find it comes to rest in Sai Ying Pun. This up-and-coming enclave, within walking distance of Central and the already ‘arrived’ hipster haven Sheung Wan, is seeing the first crop of new retail and dining options as the area reinvents itself helped in no small part by the soon to be finished Centre Street pedestrian escalator, which has already resulted in local rents doubling.
Into this giddy mix steps classic French bistro Metropolitain, which despite its mildly lame Parisian Metro-station themed decor, scores a simple, well-seasoned edit of bistro favourites, along with a semi-alfresco streetside ‘terrace’ already coming into its own for balmy evening dining, something desperately lacking in the city elsewhere.
Light bites and starters like Croque Monsier/Madame, parsnip and chestnut soup, market-fresh quiche and garlic snails are ably supported by main courses that span the hearty, rich and sticky braised lamb shank with olive oil mash, sea bass with celeriac puree and duck magret polenta and orange sauce.
For dessert one may question the need for a banana split, but there’s no mistaking the authenticity of creme brulee and tarte tatin. Paul Bert may not be losing any sleep in Paris, but this charming little soubrette certainly adds its own je ne sais quoi to the city’s dining scene.