Au Comptoir is the neighbourhood French Bistro that Kitsilano was begging for, whether Kits knew it or not. The place is always busy, but you never feel rushed. The decor screams authentic French vacation while the food whispers to your heart’s deepest culinary desires. It’s the perfect place to escape the week, and even the holidays.
That’s what I did, escape a holiday, or in this case the bustle of Easter Sunday. I’d finished watching the Canadian women lose the World Curling bronze medal game and decided it was time to get out of the jammies and out into the world. The problem was; I was enjoying escaping from it too much. My solution was to grab a seat at the bar at Au Comptoir for a quiet brunch and the Sunday paper, and that’s exactly what I got; solitude in a packed room, amazing service that never tried to move me along quickly, and a meal made with great care and love for the ingredients.
Yes, I started with the day’s mimosa, which in this case was made with fresh squeezed orange juice, lemon and carrot juice, and finished with a splash of sparkling white wine. The start of every sip was punctuated by the sweetness of the carrot, but you couldn’t miss the acid finish at the end. At first I wasn’t sure about the competing flavours, but the complex combination won me over quickly. It was great to have a drink that made me want to sip slowly just to figure out what the flavours were in every taste.
The Americano was strong with a hint of bitter. It was a nice balance to the mimosa and came with a little almond cake wedge. It was a marvelous treat! Light and delicate, the flavour matched the texture of the bite sized sweet.
I’m not sure what came over me, but I ordered a meat heavy dish. I think there was a naughty sense of decadence to ordering the Assiette Au Comptoir, a dish comprised of two eggs poached in a ramekin, house-made sausage, bacon, potato rosti, and a light greens salad. The eggs were good, a little more firm in the yolk than I like, and a little softer in the white as well, but it worked for me and it just goes to prove, you can enjoy something other than the “usual”. The sausage had a crisp casing that snapped when you cut into it, releasing all the lovely clear juices of the pork. The lean sausage had a peppery aftertaste that worked will with the smokiness of the bacon. Oh my, let’s talk rosti. It was fabulous, and I do mean, FABULOUS; crispy on the outside, fluffy and flavourful on the inside. Every bite had the perfect level of seasoning that brought out the best in the potato. The light greens salad helped to cut the heaviness of the meal and was a perfect side to the plate.
The diners next to me ordered the burgers and they looked delicious; well seared on the outside and pink once bitten into. I snuck a picture while they were talking. Odd, I know, but if I’d asked to take the photo I might have looked like a crazy foodie stalker and we can’t possibly have people thinking that.
I had a lovely brunch, reading my paper, eavesdropping on the conversations around me, and sharing a nice light banter with the waiter. It was the perfect way to spend a cool yet sunny Sunday in Kitsilano.
Movie Suggestion: What else, Easter Parade (1948); Fred Astaire, and the delightful Judy Garland. The best part though, might be the music by Irving Berlin.
2278 W 4th Ave.
Open every day for brunch (except Tuesday) from 8 am.
Michelle Muldoon is a writer, filmmaker, and avid foodie. You can find her on twitter @chat2michelle.