Comptoir Gascon, London

12.25.2014

Grabbing a quick evening meal before attending a concert at Barbican wasn't easy. First, there's not much around Barbican beside their in-house restaurant. Secondly, you may run short of time finishing the meal so you end up trying to stuff your face. Not a pleasant sight. Thirdly, you need time to digest and to take a short walk to Barbican.

Comptoir Gascon is a small French bistro on Charterhouse Street, opposite Smithfield market. Part of the gastronomical Gascon group including Michelin starred Club Gascon and bar Celler Gascon with a strong focus of food from Gascony. Think duck, foie gras and truffle. 

Bread and Butter

Piggy Treats

Evening service starts at 6:30pm, so we were under huge time constraint. I placed my order of cassoulet the minute I sat down so the kitchen will have enough time to cook it. Me and Mr T shared a starter of piggy treats (loved the name), a platter of pig made in various way of pressed, cured and sliced. Obviously Gascon took great care of choosing the charcuterie, it was outstanding particularly the blood sausage. Bread does not come with the treats and it felt like something is missing just eating so much salty meats. The platter is definitely enough for two people to share.

Duck Burger Deluxe

Traditional cassoulet Toulousain

French fries cooked in duck fat & crazy salt

Mr T eyes sparkled when he saw foie gras and truffle on the menu. It's not hard to guess what he ordered, duck burger deluxe and I went for the traditional cassoulet. Our mains was served before we even finished our starter but because we were in a rush we had to gob down the food. The duck burger deluxe had a slab of perfectly cooked foie gras stacked on top of a duck confit patty. In the word of Mr T: it's not the best burger but the foie gras made up for it. My cassoulet was wonderful, a leg of duck confit and Toulouse sausages protruding from the stew of white beans. A strip of ridiculously crispy bacon on top. The amount of meats may have you set for a heart attack but i was one little happy girl. Two sides also came leaving no room on the table, French fries cooked in duck fat and crazy salt was far from crispy and looking lifeless. Chicory, blue cheese and walnut salad (no photo) had good cripsy chicory not bitter and not over powering blue cheese. The portion size for side orders was huge, more than enough for two people. At this point, dessert could not be consumed. Firstly we were short of time and secondly we were too full. 45 minutes is definitely not enough time to enjoy the brilliance of food.

With a wine list focused on Southwest France, our carafe of vin de pays was execellent and very good value at just over £10. To find an authentic regional French Bistro with such affection to food is brilliant. Rustic décor, informal ambience and friendly causal service. What's not to like as they say? "Douceur de vivre".

Score Rating: 3.5/5

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