Harden's survey result
“Excellent duck dishes and super duck-fat chips” capture the flavour of southwest France at this offshoot of nearby Club Gascon in Smithfield. It’s a “niche restaurant that sticks to its knitting and does it well”, with a “very competitive lunch-time offering providing a good-quality meal at a very nice price”.
“The duck fat chips are worth the potential coronary”, say fans of this “slightly cramped” Smithfield bistro – offshoot of nearby Club Gascon – which has some renown as “a high quality eating experience at a very reasonable price”. Doubts are creeping in, though: “is this place starting to lose its flair?” – “the choices have become more limited and seem less creative”, and at worse “banal”.
“Duck, duck and more duck, plus BBQ meats and other delights (the deluxe burger is a joy)” from southwest France continue to inspire all-round praise for this “very enjoyable” Smithfield bistro, including as a business lunch destination. Even so, a number of fans noted “a slight going off the boil” this year – the distractions of preparing for a refurb at its parent, Club Gascon?
“Interesting regional French dishes (if in slightly modest portions for the price)” inspire lots of affection for this “cute little French bistro” in Smithfield (near its parent, Club Gascon). “It’s great for business lunches”, but the “lovely casual Gallic ambience” is also “perfect for date night” too. Top Menu Tip – “the foie gras duck burger is worth the coronary!”
Comptoir Gascon Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Not so good as usual tonight. We had the set (cheap) menu. Maybe the reason?"
|Wine per bottle||£19.50|
Comptoir Gascon EC1
Vincent Labeyrie and Pascal Aussignac, the duo behind the fabled Club Gascon, recently relaunched their elegant food shop spin-off (overlooking Smithfield Market) as a bistro. As with their other London ventures, inspiration is taken from the earthy cuisine of South West France.
The team originally billed this re-launch as a fairly straightforward bistro, and you could indeed have a very good rich peasant's lunch here. Our meal, for example, included unctuous rillettes (served with very classy toast), authentically chewy bavette (steak), and chips which my Bordelaise guest pronounced particularly good. The 'show-stopper', though - which unfortunately came right at the beginning - was an all-time-best black pudding with apples.
In addition to the blackboard menu there's a carte that offers a further range of dishes (organised by theme). This selection somewhat reinforced the feeling that the team has not quite followed through on its early, basic convictions. Some of the dishes are hardly the fodder of Gascony's horny-handed sons of toil. A seafood fricasée, for example, or some rather dainty pÃ¢tisserie. While everything is of high quality, we - perhaps unfairly - had a feeling that they'd bottled out from offering Smithfield the truly rustic formula which customers might have found a more compelling - and slightly cheaper - proposition.
Service (largely Anglo) also incited slightly mixed feelings. The staff are charming, but catching their eye can be surprisingly difficult - this is not a large room - and one dish was taken away largely uneaten without enquiry. (It was in fact fine, but it would have been nice to be asked.)
In their original deli-format, these airy premises were notable as one of London's few quality Gallic traiteurs; you can still take home some very good bread, as well as cheeses, chocolates, pÃ¢tisserie, foie gras and wines.
63 Charterhouse St, London, EC1M 6HJ
|Number of Diners:|
|Tuesday||11:30 am‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑9:30 pm|
|Wednesday||11:30 am‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑9:30 pm|
|Thursday||11:30 am‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑9:30 pm|
|Friday||11:30 am‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑9:30 pm|