Take an outdoor table and watch the giant chess tournaments happening just across the way in Hyde Park while plane trees and old oaks create dappled shade over your croque monsieur. This guy features a light and creamy béchamel, silky ham and good bread. It’s a little more manageable than those numbers you see covered in an overcoat of melted cheese, and extra manageable if you attack a Kronenberg at the same time – they have it on tap here.
Bistro classics tend to rule the menu. A beautifully seasoned confit duck leg with crisp skin sits on a little salad of orange segments, bitter greens and thin slices of radish. It’s surprisingly delicate for a duck slow-cooked in its own fat. On the flipside, the sirloin with a pat of café de Paris butter and a big pile of French fries could do with a little more seasoning.
Things get surprisingly modern and un-French in parts (rock lobster mac’n’cheese, say) though a salad of poached chicken, noodles, chilli and mint is fresh and spicy, offering up some much-needed respite from the festival of proteins we’ve found ourselves ordering (seriously, if you can resist steak frites you probably deserve a medal). But if you only eat one thing here, make it the chocolate and berry pudding. It’s a sort of French take on bread and butter pudding, made from pressed croissants all bound with chilled crème anglaise. Woof.
Treat Metro St James the way you would if you were on holiday in Paris – knock back a few glasses of rosé, have a little confit or maybe a steak, then lean back and let the last of the Autumn sun warm your bones.