Monday 22nd July 2013
This is an up-market restaurant and brewery showcasing the food and beers of Belgium. It's in a very central position being just off the middle section of Nevsky Prospeckt, so no doubt attracts the type of customer that has spent a hard morning's retail therapy in the classy shops there. It is in ulitsa Sadovaya / Улица Садовая opposite Gostinyi Dvor / Гостиный Двор, built between 1757 and 1785, reputedly the world's first shopping mall.
The restaurant has an impressive entrance with a uniformed doorman inside. There are few facilities on the ground floor and the eating and drinking is done on the first floor.
The Metropole itself was built in 1847, designed by architect Adrian Robin, and has served the people of St Petersburg most of the time since. In the middle of the last decade it was closed for a complete renovation and re-opened in May 2010 in its present guise.
The restaurant is absolutely stunning and holds 250 diners, please see photograph. The main room is known as the column hall and there is a smaller, rather exclusive restaurant holding 60 diners that's used by VIPs and private parties, which goes under the name of the Fireplace Room. The food is a mixture of Belgian, Russian and pan-European.
I was guided to the bar by the "meeter and greeter" who met me at the top of the circular staircase. The bar is not as grand as the restaurant but is impressive nevertheless. The end walls are adorned with extracts from the works of well-known Flemish artist Pieter Breughel the Elder.
The brewery is deep in the bowels of the building and is overseen by Guillaume Denayer, a Belgian national who has extensive experience of working in the artisanal breweries of his home country. It is of Austrian construction and they import at least ten types of Belgian malts to brew truly authentic replicas of what you would find that country.
The beer list is very extensive, being a mixture of draught and bottled beers. As the menus are available in English I will spare you the Russian transliterations.
Lambic (5.5%): Spontaneously fermented beer in traditional style.
Blanche (4.5%): A wheat beer with a sharp finish.
Blonde (6.5%): A strong lager beer with added Coriander.
Brune (6.5%): This is a malty brown ale with a little bitterness.
L'Ardennaise (6.0%): It is both malty and bitter.
Kriek (6.5%): A Belgian classic fermented with cherries.
Bottled beers that are sold in 75cl bottles and by the glass:
Chetain (7.0%): Copper-coloured bitter bottle-conditioned beer.
Esprit Trappist (8.5%): A dark brown beer in the Trappist style.
Bottled beers that are sold in 75cl bottles:
Saison Blanche (6.5%): Dark wheat beer with orange and cloves.
Humuline (6.0%): A blonde beer that is dry-hopped.
Brune des Flandres (6.0%): A bottle-conditioned malty brown ale.
Rouge des Flandres (6.0%): Red-brown beer with an acidic finish.
Second Souffle (6.2%): A light brown spicy beer.
The Final Blow (10.5%): A Russian Imperial Stout matured in oak barrels and bottle-conditioned. This is the only non-Belgian style.
Brasserie de Metropol, ulica Sadovaya 22/2, Sankt Peterburg, 191023. Tel: 812 571 8888
Ресторан Метрополь, Улица Садовая 22/2, Санкт-Петербург, 191023
Open: Monday-Sunday 12.00-24.00
The restaurant and bar are no more than 200 metres away from the Nevsky Prospekt and the Metro/Метро: Gostinyi Dvor/Гостиный Двор. Line 3 (Green).