We’re taking a tasty tour of Vancouver’s many brunches to create The Ultimate Vancouver Brunch Guide. This week we’re sipping espressos with a croissant in hand at Au Comptoir.
Those on the lookout for a weekend brunch service inspired by the cuisine of France should make a point to drop by Au Comptoir. With freshly baked pastries, a soupe du jour, artisan cured meats, a house-smoked salmon and leek terrine, omelettes, and veal sweetbreads, Au Comptoir dishes up a positively French dining experience.
Situated on Kitsliano’s bustling West 4th thoroughfare, Au Comptoir offers diners a beautiful French-inspired setting to retreat to. The interior is très chic; the walls are charmingly adorned with three large hanging mirrors; the timber furniture is rustic; the concrete flooring is polished, and the authentic tin-topped bar is inviting. With such elegant and noticeably French features, visiting patrons will feel as though they’ve miraculously been transported to a Parisian side-street café.
While the restaurant exudes French style and ambiance in the most tasteful manner, the food also nods to France (the servers are even French). All four menus–breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner–list a myriad of French specialties, therefore, brunch goers can expect to find an array of European flavours and mouthwatering appetizers, main plates, and desserts to choose from.
Once seated, swift service ensures that an ordered café au lait, croissant, or freshly squeezed fruit juice arrives promptly. Patrons who enjoy beginning their meal with an appetizer will be happy to note that Au Comptoir offers demi-douzaine d’huîtres fraîches (half-dozen fresh oysters with a cucumber mignonette – $16), house-smoked salmon and leek terrine ($15), house and artisan cured meats ($18), and half-dozen crispy fried duck wings ($10). Served with a herb-infused, pickle cream sauce, Au Comptoir’s lightly fried duck wings are meaty, tender and deliciously salty.
For the main event diners can pick from almond waffles with caramelized banana and vanilla crème fraîche ($12), brioche topped with house-smoked salmon, poached eggs, and a fennel Hollandaise ($16), a fluffy omelette of Gruyère cheese and fine herbs, ($14), duck confit, fall vegetables, frisée, poached eggs, walnut vinaigrette ($16), and more enticing options.
The French favourite Bavette et Frites ($19), otherwise known as grilled skirt steak with fries, is sure to please. Garnished with greens, this classic dish comes accompanied by a wonderfully sharp roquefort sauce (whisked blue cheese mixture), which complements the robust slices of beef incredibly well.
To round the meal off with something sweet patrons are encouraged to order from Au Comptoir’s dessert menu. With a list of irresistible handmade puddings, like choux pastry filled with hazelnut cream, passion fruit tart with caramel meringue, and a dark chocolate mousse and vanilla cream, which are baked on the premises by the restaurant’s own pastry chef, guests would be foolish not to request one. Chocolate lovers will have no regrets about sinking their teeth into the fabulously rich and gooey Fondant au Chocolate. Presented hot, this intense chocolate burst is a true treat.
Come the weekend Au Comptoir is a spot where brunch goers, whether they be alone or in a group, can grab a table or a seat at the bar, order a coffee and pastry, get lost in a newspaper, then settle in for a lingering and memorable brunch.
Address: 2278 West 4th Avenue
Hours: Brunch served Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.