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