In the kingdom of chefs, the pig is king – or so goes the slogan of our favourite south-western French chef, Yves Camdeborde, who has just opened his fourth address (after L'Avant Comptoir de la Mer and Le Comptoir du Relais). A love letter to pork, there are pigs on the walls, a flying pig hanging from the ceiling, a ham bone and pots of lard on the counter (which we choose to spread liberally on cornbread).
Just like in his two other ‘avant-comptoirs’, dish choices are suspended from hooks – no menus. Gourmet small plates include a deliciously pink confit pork shoulder, hay-baked new potatoes and anchovy butter (€8.50), Bayonne ham croquettes (€3.50) and sublime pork ravioli (€6.50). Leave room for the pies, incredible deli meats and weekly changing terrine (ours is a melt-in-the-mouth pig’s foot terrine).
And really, carnivorous delights such as this are no good without wine. The selection here is sourced from independent producers, such as a 2014 Montrieux from the Loire. And what else? Oh yes of course – shots of Bearnese pig blood, which resemble liquid black pudding. Not bad at all actually. One diner asked for a vegetarian dish, to which Yves Camdeborde himself replied: "but that’s like going into a post office and asking to buy a hammer.." then reappeared minutes later with a beautiful looking salad. So it may be pork-based through and through, but it’s damn friendly too.
TRANSLATION: MEGAN CARNEGIE