French food and atmosphere with a 1920s vibe is the promise of Metropol Palais, a brasserie housed in a handsome old cinema from 1927. Aside from the menu, the space is what draws us there; the website talks about a world of “red carpets, elegant wall paintings and beautiful stucco,” and from the outside, the huge, floor-to-ceiling windows facing Sveavägen bode well.
But somehow, the dining room interior doesn’t quite deliver. There’s something a bit cruise ship-like about the opulent style – and yet the space doesn’t feel as luxurious as you’d expect. It could be the lighting, but something is not quite right.
Luckily, these first impressions are offset by a friendly and professional waiter who warmly calls us “ladies” and lets us taste several excellent wines before making our choice – some of which are not normally sold by the glass, but as a bottle happens to be open, he’s willing to make an exception.
And the food? There are some weighty names behind the menus: the kitchen is led by experienced chef Roland Persson, while Ia Orre, with a past as a sommelier at Grand Hôtel in Stockholm, among other things, is responsible for the drink menu. Desserts are created by Richard Bingham, who’s previous employers include the classic bakery and café Vetekatten.
With a team like that, it’s hard to go wrong, as our amuse bouche, a small but tasty tart flambé, shows.
Still, our starter salads – one with artichoke, truffle, duck liver, tarragon and chervil (145 kronor for a half portion) and the other with maché, apples and wine-cooked, fried pork belly, are a little tame. It gets better with the mains, however. We order the steak tartare – a half portion (165 kronor) is more than enough – and the bouillabaisse (320 kronor). The meat for the tartare is shown to us before it’s prepared, and the bouillabaisse arrives with the sauce in a separate little jug, so that the ingredients can be clearly seen. Both dishes are excellent.
And while here, you really shouldn’t miss the dessert trolley, filled to the brim with delicacies such as crème brûlée, lemon tart, chocolate cake and baba rhum. You can also order Crepes Suzette (150 kronor), which the waiter prepares in front of your table. The flambéing never fails to impress, and the taste is wonderfully sweet and tangy too.
Metropol Palais might struggle a bit in finding its place on Stockholm’s restaurant scene – some of the dishes are quite expensive in relation to the surroundings and the location. It’s a good walk from the city centre but at the same time, not a classic local joint for people living in Vasastan.
Still, the cooking deserves a chance and if you navigate the menu right, you can get an excellent meal for less than you’d expect.