After our wonderful brunch at Linh Cafe, we thought it would be just wasteful of the car’s gas if we just left Kitsilano without doing anything else. Plus we had to have dessert, so we made the short trip to Au Comptoir for sweets.
Au Comptoir is gorgeous. The decor is a mix of a decadent Parisian cafe with the mirror lining the wall and pared-down Pacific Northwest style with plenty of light and minimalistic wooden furnishing. Mind, I went to Au Comptoir twice. First with my mom, then I dragged some more of the family there. This is going to be a long post, but please enjoy the foodporn.
Since the food at the other tables were so beautiful, we ordered three desserts. I also had an Americano that came with a small piece of almond financier. I loved the Americano, it was very strong and woke me right up after the milky latte at Linh Cafe.
The profiterole with hazelnuts and foie gras ice cream. I saw the foie gras ice cream and was immediately sold. The profiterole also came with a small pot of melted chocolate, which the waiter drizzeld on the cream puffs with a flourish. Unfortunately, the melted chocolate and the hazelnuts seem to have masked the subtle flavor of the foie gras ice cream. This was fun to eat but I wish they were more generous with the foie gras.
The almond waffles with roasted apples, rhubarb and vanilla creme fraiches. This was delightful. The almond waffles were firm, nutty and not overly sweet. I actually dislike any dessert with apples in it, but the roasted apples here were tender and paired well with the almond waffles. The rhubarb compote added some acidity to the dessert, and blended well with the sweet apples.
I loved the lemon tart. Au Comptoir has a fridge display at the back of the restaurant that proudly presents their dessert of the day. The lemon tart came from the fridge, and it was probably the best dessert of the three we ordered. The lemon was tangy, light and cool from being in the fridge. However, while the tart was being plated, they torched the meringue on top, so when you eat it you get a mix of the cool lemon curd and the slightly warm meringue. Amazing. The crust was also buttery and easily broken with a fork.
Onto the second trip.
This time with extra family reinforcement, we came for the traditional brunch and ordered egg dishes. Clockwise, we had the duck confit salad, the smoked halibut Benedict on brioche, the herbed omelette and the veal sweetbreads, asparagus, morel mushrooms with poached eggs.
I did not get to try the duck confit, but I was told the duck was tender, flavorful and not too gamey. The smoked halibut was fresh, not too stringy and mixed well with the runny poached egg. The herbed omelette was fragrant and extra creamy from the healthy dose of melted gruyère folded in the centre. The omelette also had the jiggly cuddled look of a well-made omelette. I had the veal sweetbread with mushrooms and poached eggs. This was a beautiful plate, rustic and minimal. The sweetbreads was decadent and delicious with the earthy morel mushrooms and creamy poached eggs. I despise asparagus, but it just tasted crisp and fresh here and the very abhorrent asparagus flavor was buried under the sweetbread. Thank heaven.
In our second trip, we had three major sweet tooth dining(yours truly included), so we got desserts again.
The banana split was delicious. The drizzled melted chocolate made the dessert richer. The ice cream was smooth and full of flavor. The roasted bananas were underneath the ice cream, which made the dessert more sweet, though I wish the banana were caramelized a little more.
I believe this is their new dessert creation. The roses and raspberry Isaphan inspired by the same dessert created by the great Pierre Hermé. This dessert was absolutely gorgeous, both in taste and looks. The light rose scent was infused in the macaron shell and the cream within. The fresh raspberries added a little tartness, but did not overpower the light sweetness of the Isaphan. I highly recommend ordering this, if it is still available. I was feeling Marie Antoinette savoring this.
Au Comptoir was an absolute delight on both visits. Sure, the food is a little on the pricey side, but as a little neighborhood spot, it more than delivers. The service was also beyond the par. The waiters were incredibly friendly, helpful and flirty. In the first visit, we were seated at a small cafe table. Since we ordered three desserts, and the waiter saw I had my phone out ready to take photos, he quickly arranged the plates and the glasses to make sure that I had a great shot. Granted, the waiter likely did that because he suspected that I was grammin’ and I was offering them free advertisement. Still, I appreciated the extra effort.