When Kathy from Femmes Francophiles suggests we have lunch together today, I ask if she can find something close by so I don’t take too much time off work. The downside of being my own boss is that the work doesn’t get done when I’m not there.
She suggests Le Comptoir des Petits Champs, just down the road from me. All I have to do is walk through the Palais Royal gardens, up rue Vivienne and left into Rue des Petits Champs. I’ve never heard of it, despite the fact that I must have walked past it hundreds of times over the past 7 years! I arrive a little ahead of Kathy around 12.30 and am pleased to see that only a couple of tables are taken. That’s because it’s still August and half of Paris is still off at the beach somewhere.
The friendly waiter takes me to the last of three window tables. I’m amazed to see I can see right through to the Palais Royal. How come I’ve never noticed this restaurant? I later learn that it is voluntarily discreet, to encourage a neighbourhood clientele. I probably shouldn’t even be writing this post …
I’m given some “reading material” but instead of studying the menu, I look out the window and discover that I have a balcony view of the Gardens and the Grand Véfour, one of the oldest and most prestigious restaurants in the area.
Kathy soon arrives so we look at the menu. At lunchtime, it’s 14 euro for a main course only, 20 for entrée + main or main + dessert and 26 for all three. An entrée or main is 10 euro. At night, it’s 19 euro for a main, 27 for entrée + main or main + dessert and 35 for all three.
I choose sword fish tartare served with sucrine lettuce, croutons and capsicum while Kathy has fresh salmon on a bed of cooked vegetables. We choose a glass of white from the south of France to go with it. It’s not a wine I know so the waitress immediately offers to let me taste first.
We follow with a café gourmand consisting of a mini-financier, a slice of one of the best moelleux au chocolat I’ve had for a long time, a small cream tart and a lemon mousse for me and strawberry mousse for Kathy, because I’m not a strawberry fan. The service throughout is discreet and friendly.
When we leave, I take a photo of the outside and marvel that I have never noticed it. Kathy did because she was intrigued by the old television set in the window!
Despite the fact that Paris is full of restaurants and there are a lot in our area (1st and 2nd arrondissements), we don’t often find a new one that we consider it’s worth going back to. Either it’s too expensive or the food isn’t wonderful or the service is not up to scratch. As a result, we have a little handful we return to regularly depending on what we want that particular day.
Le Comptoir des Petits Champs will be joining the list.Le Comptoir des Petits Champs, 17 Rue des Petits Champs, 75001 Paris, 01 42 96 47 54. Open 7 days a week.