Comptoir Gascon operated as a deli with a few tables until they switched things around in October 2005, reducing the deli counter and installing enough seating for around 50 covers. Since then it has received some brilliant notices from critics and customers alike. We knew we were in for a treat from the moment we sat down among a small crowd of beaming faces. The restaurant is small which adds to the intimacy and enjoyment of the meal. There's no music, and the waiters are enthusiastic, friendly but discreet. A kind of contented hush prevails as each diner enters a blissful gastronomic reverie punctuated by appreciative conversation.
Our meal kicked off with a glass of house champagne and was accompanied by a fine bottle of Bergerac Cuvee Abbey 2002. My girlfriend's bowl of mixed cheese with rye bread sticks was unexpectedly cold and refreshing, a highly original starter. I went with a classic French first course of foie gras Sauternes, easily the best I've had in London since my visit to Club Gascon six years ago.
For main courses, my companion had a seafood cassoulet of squid, mussels and watercress which was superb, very rich but irresistible. I has a classic steak tartare which was perfectly executed, I've never had better or even anything like as good. My companion was forced to admit defeat at this point but I soldiered on, ordering a 'Chocolate Opera', the French version of tiramisu, with a hint of marzipan in rich black chocolate it was sensational.
Our waiter was a charming guy, and almost reverential about the food. And so he should be - this is a small but near perfect gastronome's paradise. If you like French cooking, you absolutely must pay this place a visit. World class.
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Today (Friday) Comptoir Gascon closes at 22.00
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