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21-22 Weighhouse Street
With classic bistro tables outside and a zinc ‘comptoir’ within, this boho-chic café-bar would look at home in the Parisian quarter of Le Marais. The place is styled à la 1950s provincial France, and is the latest offering from Xavier Rousset (Blandford Comptoir / Cabotte). Rousset’s passion for wine is evident downstairs in an elegant ‘cave’-cum-tasting room whose scintillating selection straddles modest Mediterraneans and heavyweight Grands Crus clarets with correspondingly punchy price tags. Fear not, though: a flat £10 corkage charge applies to any bottle consumed on-site, while two dozen global goodies by the glass see classy Canadian and Kiwi Chardonnay rub shoulders with super Sicilian reds and a notable Chinon vieilles vignes at fair prices. Start your day with coffee and pastries then brunch on the likes of smoked haddock and watercress omelette. The plat du jour might typically be duck leg confit with white beans and Taleggio.
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Best Mayfair Bars
SquareMeal 2 Stars
21-22 Weighhouse Street
Bond Street Tube Station 116m
Marble Arch Tube Station 662m
James Street 189m
Mon-Fri 8am-10pm (Thurs-Fri -11pm) Sat-Sun 10am-11pm (Sun -10pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
The French do it so well. Unlike the Brits, across the Channel, the idea of the casual all-day establishment where customers can be as at home with their coffee and croissant in the mornings as with their glass of wine later is already well-established. The good news is that Comptoir, the latest offering from Xavier Rousset’s expanding empire, brings the concept to Mayfair – and does it exceptionally well. The venue replaces a hairdresser which had undoubtedly seen better days, and looks to be an astute move by M. Rousset ahead of next year’s arrival of the Elizbeth Line at nearby Bond Street Station. Despite having only been open for three weeks, the place already feels like an established neighbourhood favourite and seems busy at all times of the day. Customers clearly like the relaxed vibe of the place, its central counter with seating, the exposed brick walls and the Moorish style tiling on the floor. I had already dropped in for a glass of wine on a previous occasion, but a recent weekday lunchtime allowed a comrade and me to sample Comptoir’s fare as well. Before describing the food, it is worth spending a moment on the wine. For lovers of the grape, this is definitely a place to consider. Not only does Comptoir have a list that changes every few days and where everything is available by the glass, but also there is a shop in the basement containing more than 2,000 bottles. These can be consumed on the premises (for a corkage fee) or taken away. On our visit, we enjoyed an excellent glass of Roussanne from California followed by a Sicilian red. Both contained abundant depth and flavour. Onto the food, and there were absolutely no complaints. The menu here is simple, comprising at lunchtimes a range of soups, salads, fish, meat and cheese. We enjoyed some of the most tender and flavoursome boquerones (Spanish anchovies) I have sampled for some time as well as Comptoir’s charcuterie platter – good value at £15. We ended on a high, with a superb piece of lemon tart, which packed a zesty punch. I’ll be back and am looking forward to warmer weather too. Sitting outside (especially when the Crossrail detritus has been cleared), it may even be possible to imagine one might be in France…
Food + drink: 5
Rather than rest on the laurels earned from opening Blandford Comptoir this time last year, Xavier Rousset has moved direction with his latest venture, Comptoir Café & Wine.
This all day venture sits on the site of the old United Dairies operation in Mayfair, the other half of which is occupied by Deliciously Ella's Mae Deli (ironically a diary free offering in a former diary). Whereas the latter is all clean eating, meat free, glutton free, dairy free, alcohol free, as would befit a Master Sommelier, clean eating is left very much behind, with hand carved Iberico ham, gorgeous sourdough, cheeses to die for and a wine list of epic proportions being the order of the day.
For those, like me, who adore Blandford Comptoir, upstairs will feel familiar: there is a counter with some stools to sit and munch and sup at. There are tables in and out, for doing very much the same, and the rest of the counter groans with (at varying times of the day) viennoiserie, a whole leg of Iberico ham, oysters, cheeses and a bucket filled to the brim with ice. And champagne.
Descend to the basement, however, and it is all new. Arranged along the walls around a large table are bottles. Not just any old bottles, but bottles culled from the best wineries around the world. A New Zealand pinot? Of course, try the Felton Road. A cheeky little Spanish? Would a Tondonia work? French? My name is Xavier, what more can I say? A sparkler? Please step into the chilled champagne room, and chose anything from a Cristal to an Egly-Oreit, or perhaps a grower champagne from somebody you've never heard of, but will come back to again and again.
Moving through, there is a large central table, perfect for tastings or small gatherings of friends and, tucked around the corner, a few lower lying tables and chairs, in the "library". And indeed the whole place feels like a library, but a more fun, jovial, convivial one than your local public one (if you're lucky enough still to have one), where bottles rather than books are plucked from the shelves, and silence is very much not the order of the day.
The food offerings are small and made for a quick snack to soak up the alcohol. As with Blandford Comptoir, they come grouped together: soups and salads; toasties and rolls (the triple layered croque monsieur is going to become an Instagram hit, but really should be eaten piping hot); fish and shellfish; meat and charcuterie; deserts and cheese. All that I've tasted have been great, but really they are but a side show to the wine, with which you have two choices: buy a great bottle at a great price and drink at home, or pay £10 corkage and enjoy it here, with some of that lovely cheese or a freshly shucked oyster perhaps.
With friendly and warm service and a welcoming atmosphere, Xavier has once again built a hit.
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