I'm not sure if I should listen to my friends’ comments or even read previous reviews of Metropole before writing this piece. All I know is that I enjoyed my time, I loved the place and ate some decent food. It might be early to judge, but let me state the facts as I experienced them and I hope I won’t have to change my mind on the next visit.
Located in the prestigious Grand Hotels District in Downtown Beirut, Métropole is a brasserie with a relaxed upscale setting, serving not only French food, but classic dishes from other cuisines such as American and Italian. The menu is prepared by French chefs and includes steaks, chicken and beef dishes, pastas, a gourmet hamburger, an extensive wine list and a raw seafood bar.Métropole is open every day of the week for lunch and dinner and serves brunch on Sundays. We arrived on a calm Tuesday when the terrace was full while the inner dining space was calmer, so we decided to feel the vibe of the place by taking over the inner right corner
Metropole is really an extraordinary place, reproducing the French bistro feel, through its decor, high ceilings, mirrors and colors. I couldn't but take a minute to enjoy the place, its details and ambiance while taking one picture after another.
This was the first time in months that I decided not to take any notes while eating but to simply enjoy the food and venue. We only had one hour to finish lunch before moving to other meetings, and we planned to wrap it up with their signature pain perdu that so many have been talking about.
The place transports you into Paris's busy streets. Red colors, large mirrors, a high ceiling, metallic designs, writing on the glass surfaces, a large bar, wooden tables, leather sofas, wine bottles and details made famous by the French capital’s street cafes.
Lunch started with a basket of fresh bread while the waiter, dressed in black from head to toe, in an apron, gilet and pants served us with a smile. The menu:
- Hors D'Oeuvres
- Plats du Jour
- Le Bar a Huitres
- Les Salades
- Les Plats
- Les Sandwiches
We started with grilled calamari with lemon dressing and capers as well as a goat cheese salad with a honey rosemary salad. Two plates that taste as good as they look and where appetizing, fresh and enjoyable. I loved the grilled flavor of the calamari and its enjoyable feeling under the teeth.
Roula decided to have the sea bream served with quinoa, which she enjoyed so much thanks to its details, nice presentation, the fact it was perfectly cooked and its rich flavors. On a round plate, a portion of fish, beautifully decorated with vegetables cut in cubes, and laying on a bed of quinoa, juicy and dissipating those grilled aromas was such an enjoyable experience.
I personally went for the Beef Stroganoff, served with rice. Beef Stroganoff is a Russian dish of sautéed pieces of beef served in a sauce with sour cream. From its origins in mid-19th-century Russia, it has become popular around the world, with considerable variation from the original recipe. I loved it! Tender slices of beef generously filling my plate around a portion of rice cooked al dente. I really loved it on all fronts, and you know how hard it is to succeed a plate like this without having a chewy or watery outcome.
While enjoying the nice Parisian ambiance and looking at the little details that constitute the decor of Metropole, we asked for an express pain perdu. Pain perdu, or French toast, at Metropole is one of those sophisticated examples, and a little different from others you might have had. Like the one Blackrock
served up, Metropole's looks like a soufflé. The first bite is what makes people love it. The first impression, and it stays with you, of a juicy and creamy bun, soaked in milk and containing all the flavors a dessert should have in order to work well. The second is less tasty and as you move towards the bottom, the bread turns out to be uncooked, heavy and condensed. I personally always believe that a pain perdu should be served on a plate, and made of a flat bun with no sophistication. Saying it's the best in town is far from being a reality.
Metropole is a place to be considered for a business lunch or a cup of coffee on a fresh afternoon. I might think of it less on weekend nights where it transforms into a gathering spot for Beirut's 'before-party' diners. PS: I think it's overpriced for a neighborhood bistro.