146 Cuba Street, Wellington
“Bonsoir”. You know you are in for a dining experience when you are greeted authentically at the door. Here I was in Wellington, seated at Le Metropolitain French Bistro, sipping a lovely glass of La Violette Viognier 2009 (keeping with the French theme) and waiting for our friends to join us.
I find dining in an unfamiliar city can be a bit hit and miss. But watching patrons literally pour through the door, and staff turning away those without reservations, surely made for a good sign.
The restaurant boasts simple, honest French food, with the menu including many traditional classics; French onion soup, d’escargots (yes, snails), tripe and cheese galore.
The meat eaters at the table took a great deal of time to make their ordering decision. One selected the slow cooked leg of lamb in a red wine and mushroom sauce ($26), and was very content with his choice. Another chose the Boeuf Bourguignon ($25) – braised beef in red wine with mushrooms, onions and potatoes. Although it was beautifully plated, the beef was described as “nicely cooked, but with absolutely no flavour”, making it more than a little disappointing.
The husband was lured by the chalk board special of braised Angus brisket in a dark ale, with mushrooms and savoy cabbage ($26). In my limited culinary experience, I always associate French meals to be very small portions, and in this case my husband agreed. Although he thoroughly enjoyed this flavoursome dish, we had to feed him again later on in the evening.
There were three vegetarian options on the menu, and I would have been happy with either linguine, gratin or risotto. I decided on the Portobello mushroom and potato gratin with Reblochon cheese ($22) as it’s not a dish I’m often offered. The gratin proved hearty, filling and very tasty, however it would have benefited from a side of greens.
The restaurant has a great vibe and ambience, with authentic French speaking staff. Bon appetit a tous.
Top Tip: Make sure you order a side of greens to complete your meal.
In a nutshell: We’d definitely return for another enjoyable dining experience.