Lunch at Le Comptoir and L'avant Comptoir, Paris

In my search to find the best places to eat in Paris, this baby was next on my list. Having heard raving reviews about the tapas there, it was the place I had to go before we left. We tried to go there the night before but the line was ridiculously long. Thankfully, we came at around 1pm – there was still a line, but we only had to wait around 10 minutes. God, this place is high in demand. 

All I do is sulk when I’m waiting in queues, and once I’m sat down I’m suddenly so smug. I took a picture of the suckers still in line.

Inside was bright and beautiful, which was helped by the fact that it was such a nice day so all the doors to outside were wide open.

I looked around at everyones meals and they seemed of normal size. This definitely wasn’t tapas. I had a scan of the menu and although my French is very poor, I’m bright enough to know that there were starters and main courses.

Yet again, I asked the waiter what he recommended. I always do this because 1) He knows what the best possible things to have at the restaurant are, 2) I love trying new things and 3) I can read fuck-all French so it was either ask that or having to get the entire menu translated and feel like the tourist that I was.

I got massive food envy with these ladies on the next table to us. They were having what looked like a massive dish of foie gras. It looked SO good but I had already ordered, plus James wouldn’t share it with me when I asked. I took the sneakiest shot which James found hilarious.

To be fair, once our food came I didn’t even think twice about it. James’ French isn’t great but is already heaps better than mine, so he could more or less figure out what was what on the menu. His eyes went straight for the lamb.

I got the waiter to recommend a couple of starters and mains to me. The mains didn’t sound all that interesting, but the two starters that he said were the absolute best sounded fantastic, so I ordered them both instead of a main. The first was calamari with squid ink risotto.

The second was bone marrow. I’d never had bone marrow before.

Both starters looked quite decent sized so I seemed like a big of a pig.

The bone marrow was the one dish that the waiter said everyone ordered. I scraped it off the bone and it was so yummy mixed with the caviar, beans and mushy peas, as well as the sauce.

The risotto was delicious. Risotto rice is so different from other rice, and the blackness of the squid ink would have scared me when I was younger but the flavour was so good. I used the bread to mop up both the sauce from risotto and the sauce that came with the bone marrow. Yep, bread. It was my last meal in Paris so I was living life on the wild side with my complex carbs.

I was a happy gal.

We planned to go next door to have a crêpe for dessert as they were highly recommended as well. It’s a part of the same hotel.

Little did we know, as well as doing crêpes, this was the tapas place that we were recommended, not the place that we just had lunch. Dammit. I would have sulked if our lunch wasn’t so good anyway.

I met a lovely French couple who explained the place to me. They said that this was where people would come as the ‘waiting room’ for the restaurant next door, and would have tapas and wine as they waited. However, they said that they like this place so much that they come here for their meal instead of going next door after. They said that the place is renowned for their ham, hence the pig on the menu.

And on the wall.

This place was small but very quirky. They had drawings on the wall which I loved.

What I loved even more was the other menu. They hung up different dishes on the ceiling, which I thought was the coolest idea ever.

The French couple that I befriended chatted away about what was good here. They ordered ham croquettes and so kindly offered me one, which was delicious.

James had come for a crêpe, and he was going to get a crêpe. They had tons of savoury options that all looked incredible, but having had lunch we were after something sweet. Asking what sweet crêpe was good, he recommended sugar and butter or the chocolate one. After hearing the words ‘chocolate, banana and whipped cream’, James knew what he was having. The lovely couple told me that plain chocolate was the best as it was rich, dark chocolate used, and having banana with it might be a little too much.

Unfortunately for James, they forgot to put the banana in his. He still said it was delicious and ate away, although it was tricky with all the whipped cream so he had to eat it with a dorky fork.

After the couple raving about how the ham was the best here, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to try it. Yes, I know I just had lunch, but my eyes are bigger than my tummy, which is funny because I am Chinese.

He sliced it up real nice in front of me.

The ham was really good, although I prefer Spanish ham. I only wanted to try a couple of pieces, so I offered it around to my new friends. Damn tapas is friendly.

The male in the couple said how it goes deliciously with red and offered me some.

The lady brought over the pickles that were on the table as a garnish and told me to have one on its own. It was really good. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a spectacular pickle, or if it’s because I’m only just starting to like pickles and realising what I’ve been missing out on for my entire life.

They described many different dishes to me, but the one that stood out the most was this one that I absolutely refused to let myself leave Paris without ordering. It was a macaron with dried pigs blood (black pudding) and some sort of chutney inside. It sounds weird as hell, but the description alone made me curious enough to try it.

The sweet/savoury combination was actually amazing. The chutney complimented it beautifully, and it’s by far one of the most interesting things I’ve ever tried. If you’re looking for something a little different, then this is it. I don’t even usually like black pudding. Little Bianca is growing up!

Never too grown up to have a crêpe though. I couldn’t leave Paris without getting one of these either (although that seems to be my excuse that I tell myself so I can eat more). I went with their recommendation of just chocolate.

They were right – it was rich and delicious. I probably would have been able to eat the banana with it, but considering how full I was, it was the best decision to have it without. The couple sweetly taught me how to ‘properly’ eat a crêpe, by ripping the edges of the paper as I ate away instead of folding it down.

Feeling I could possibly explode at any moment, James and I strolled around Paris in hopes of digesting his one lunch and my two lunches, as well as making the most of our last afternoon. We were going to head to a cool architecture museum but were running low on time before our train home, so we found this park which was packed with people taking full advantage of the sun.

Au revoir, Paris. You’ve been good to us.

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