Whenever I get the opportunity to pop into Cellar Gascon, I try to take it.
Last week, I had a meeting in the City and on my way up to Farringdon station I popped in for a quick glass of the Cotes de Gascogne (£6) and a read of Le Monde which is always there. It’s great if you can get in before the city crowds make it, and have a seat at the bar, and a chat with the barman (who, from the southwest of France, is probably a runner up in the cute waiter department).
Meeting up with some friends at the Cellar on Friday, we enjoyed a bottle of the Chateau de Sabazan which is one of our own personal favourites at home.
Sabazan is a charming spot in the south of the Gers, and the wine produced from the vines there by Plaimont is one of their best. Available here in London at Nicolas for around £12 – £15, a bottle at the Cellar is still reasonable at £24. Sabazan is produced on 16 hectares and kept in oak for 10 – 14 months at the chateau before bottling. If you end up in the Gers, then I encourage a quick stop in Sabazan if just to admire the view (the chateau remains private).
After some drinkettes at the Cellar, we moved on to the Comptoir…
Aside from the one-star Club Gascon next door (which I still recommend highly), you can also enjoy the Comptoir Gascon across Smithfield Market on Charterhouse Street. The five of us descended Friday evening direct from the Cellar and dug into the selection of charcuterie (known as ‘Piggy Treats’), the foie gras, and the rillettes de canard (which were absolutely perfect). Mains varied from fish for the girls to a beef tartare (actually chunky bits of steak, nicely seasoned and onioned, with a beautiful egg on top). I have to say I enjoyed the tartare for its texture and found this change from the more traditional minced version a good change indeed. Across the table there was some cassoulet and some confit. Everyone gave the food and the wine (a simple Cahors and a pleasant Buzet) a thumbs up before dessert.
Dessert was again a shared experience with the Chocolate Royale and the Amandine very good. But the clear winner was the ice cream made in house (especially the pear!).
The service was great, the company enjoyable, and the wine actually reasonably priced. Well done again, Comptoir!
Dinner per person at Comptoir Gascon: £47 including service
Food: 7 out of 10
Service: 7.5 out of 10
Atmosphere: 7 out of 10 – there’s still something missing in that room, isn’t there? It feels temporary somehow…
Sexy Factor: 5 out of 10 – Comptoir is about the people you’re with really, not the ones around…
Return?: Oh sure…