New life for notorious Gastro Park site in Kings Cross

Opel Khan and head chef Benoit Lollichon at the soon to open Metisse.
Opel Khan and head chef Benoit Lollichon at the soon to open Metisse. Photo: Supplied

The notorious restaurant site where Gastro Park traded –  just off the strip at Kings Cross – will reopen this week as Metisse with head chef Benoit Lollichon, a graduate of Restaurant Guy Savoy, the Paris eatery with a bank of Michelin stars.

"I've had a few people tell me I've got a lot of guts taking over that spot," says Opel Khan, the chef-restaurateur bank-rolling Metisse.

Khan, who has owned a number of Sydney restaurants, including Guru and Beluga, is also the author of Sex in the Kitchen. He believes the worm has turned for the site, which has had a high casualty rate.

In the early days of its longest reign, the award-winning Gastro Park, diners could spot all sorts of activity and transactions on the surrounding streets, but the gentrification of the area has changed the vista, and respected pop-up Etelek recently finished a residency at the site.

French food is mounting a serious comeback in the area with Franca set to open just down the road from Metisse in coming months. Khan maintains Lollichon will focus on a "light style, new version of French food".

The menu is bristling with tweaked classics. Foie gras is served with a chickpea sponge, green lentils beetroot jelly and horseradish "snow". Coquelet (cockerel) is paired with smoked pumpkin and fresh peas, and the lamb rump with burnt onion, pickled cherries has a dusting of feta.

The prices look competitive (entrees $18, mains $28) and a five-course degustation with matching wines $100 a person. "I call it affordable luxury," Khan says. And the name? "Metisse is mixed race, which is my background."

Open Tue-Sun 5pm-midnight.

5-9 Roslyn Street, Potts Point