Like the other restaurants in the group – Club Gascon, Cellar Gascon and Le Cercle – Comptoir Gascon is a pocket of France in all but the language you’ll order in and the currency you’ll pay.
Alongside the authenticity of the surroundings, which could have been lifted directly from a quiet street across the Channel and transplanted into the busy environment of EC1 – the food is bold, strong, hearty and dripping with the kind of Gallic flavours which people travel far and wide for.
Smithfield is pretty well-known when it comes to meat, and so here – amid shelves stacked with produce and with a backdrop of industrious cooks toiling away to make the delights on offer here and for home consumption – you’ll find it in all of its glory, from the often commented-on ‘piggy treats’ sampler of fine pork produce, through rillettes and duck confit. Duck is an important part of the menu here, with a duck burger available as well from time to time, something which is well worth a try – but the rillettes themselves are commented on most of all; the dish is flavoursome, just rich enough, and served with soldiers for the full ‘home comforts’ experience.
Cassoulet, barbecued soldier of lamb, braised ox cheeks and more might also flesh out the menu (pardon the pun) and for those in search of something lighter, look out for fish on the menu balanced with the traditional flavours of – for example – lemon, capers and potatoes, or the unbeatably simple snack of radishes with butter.
Breakfast and brunch options revolve around an enviable selection of rich egg dishes; a lengthy and meticulously-chosen wine list completes the picture. Perfect for a top-quality respite from the bustle of the streets outside.