If you walk through the streets of Paris, you’ll notice clusters of people with a glass of wine in hand, spilling out of little bistros in every neighbourhood. Kennedy Town now has its own one of these, with French Creations’ latest opening, Comptoir on Forbes Street.
Comptoir, which translates here to ‘central bar’ is a cosy little bistro that serves tasty sharing-style food and a wide range of predominantly French wines. With an open kitchen, simple décor, tiled flooring and vintage French posters, the space is as close to a truly French bistro as you’ll find this side of Paris.
Upstairs is a beautiful wine cellar and tasting room complete with over 600 bottles of fine wines that can accommodate private parties of eight guests.
The menu is satisfyingly concise, presented on your placemat, with a list of specials hand-written on blackboards above and around you. There are a number of traditional French classics you’d expect to find at any French bistro, alongside some more experimental dishes that take influences from Italian, Spanish and even Asian cuisines.
If I see pork rillettes on a menu, it’s simply impossible not to order it. Comptoir’s version, made in-house of course, was every bit as rich, buttery and delicious as it should be, paired with seriously tasty cornichons and crispy slices of toasted baguette.
The ham croquettes were also very tasty, with a beautifully gooey centre that melted in the mouth.
Comptoir’s tuna tartare has a clear Asian twist, made with soya sauce and coriander dressing. It was wonderfully fresh and light, with strong yet not overpowering flavours coming through.
The ravioles de Royans is probably not something I would have ordered, but the chef insisted it was one of his favourites. This very simple dish of tiny cheesy ravioli in a creamy tarragon sauce turned out to be one of my favourite dishes of the night too. I therefore ended up eating the tiny cheesy pockets one by one so that they would last longer!
We tasted a half-portion of the sautéed prawns, which were perfectly cooked to a lovely, bouncy consistency and tasted divine. Having been apparently cooked in pastis, I couldn’t actually taste much pastis, as the garlicky flavour shone through – but I love garlicky prawns so I didn’t mind this too much!
The last of our savoury dishes was a surprisingly delightful Mangalica pork with garlic spinach and piquillo peppers. I say surprising, as again this is perhaps not a dish I would have picked. The pork, however, was as tender as a juicy steak and tasted divine, particularly with a bit of wholegrain Dijon mustard.
Sides of French green beans with onion and bacon and truffle mash are also deserving of some praise, particularly the mash, which was wonderfully creamy, rich and simply heavenly.
As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I’m a firm believer that chocolate and fruit (with the odd exception) should be kept separate from each other. I therefore enjoyed the chocolate spring rolls on their own, and then enjoyed some of the red fruit coulis on its own!
The winning dessert in my mind was the mini macaron with vanilla and caramel butter salt ice cream, partly due to the perfection of the pistachio macaron and partly due to the deliciousness of the accompanying ice cream drizzled in rich caramel sauce.
Prices are very reasonable, with most dishes under $100, and service is personal and efficient. I love an open kitchen, firstly as you get to watch what’s going on, and secondly as you can ask the chef for personal recommendations. Comptoir is a welcome new addition to K Town and adds to the lovely neighbourhood feel that this part of town is known for.
42 Forbes Street
Tel: +852 2453 9873
Closed on Mondays