Le Comptoir des Petits Champs is nestled roughly in the middle of the so named street (Rue des Petits Champs, at no. 17 to be precise). It is quite a cosy little place, at first glance it seemed very tiny, and in fact it was not until much later in the evening that I realized there were more seats upstairs. To be on the safe side my friend made us a reservation, which given the popularity of the place was probably a good idea.
The menu was a bit of a test on my French, though once the wait staff realized my difficulties, they were very helpful in giving me a translation to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. I found it very hard to make a decision as there were a lot of great sounding dishes but I finally settled on the “Carpaccio de Daurade” and “Fricassée d’encornets au Paprika, semoule, purée de chou fleur” (calamari with paprika, semolina and cauliflower puree), whilst my companion opted for “Crumble de Saint-Marcellin aux figues séchées” and Lotte (Burbot) with curry sauce and rice.
My companion sampled one of their gin cocktails which was very pleasant indeed, not too sweet or sour, a balance I feel is sometimes hard to get right. However, as we were both eating fish we opted for a bottle of white to have with our meal, the Pouilly-Fumé, also very good.
My starter, the carpaccio, was a wonderful combination of salty fish and the sweet mango and with the herbs and olive oil it was quite light and fresh tasting. Though the portion size appeared quite small, I realized that as it was predominately fish that actually it was a good amount and enjoyed it thoroughly. Being British, the idea of a savoury crumble is a somewhat bizarre thought, but I swallowed my predispositions and gave the crumble de Saint-Marcellin a try and I admit it was good. Not my first choice or new found favourite dish but nonetheless pleasant.
Now for the mains, I will admit semolina is not something I eat often and especially not cauliflower puree, I was mostly swayed by my whim of wanting calamari which is a weakness of mine. Yet, I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed it. The crunchy calamari was good enough, some pieces were a little tough but overall decent, but what made it so good was the texture and flavour combinations. The cauliflower puree was quite sweet, against the paprika this worked very well, and the crunchy calamari on the fluffy semolina and light cauliflower was equally satisfying. I recommend this dish especially. My companion’s curry was good and flavourful, however I have had better elsewhere and perhaps would personally choose something else over this purely because I have quite high expectations when it comes to curry.
Overall we greatly enjoyed it and I would recommend to a friend. Booking seems to be a good idea as it was fairly busy on the Saturday evening we went. They also offer a set menu, for dinner this is €17 for one course, €25 for two and €32 for three, worth it I think. Lunch is even better value, from €13.50 for a main.
Address: 17 Rue des Petits Champs, 75001 Paris
Telephone: 01 42 96 47 54