Housed in a picturesque art nouveau building, there are several dining rooms, the nicest of which allows a view of the kitchen through a huge stained glass window. Visiting Comme Chez Soi is like eating in someone’s living room. At first it might be bit intimidating, because the rooms are so small, but once they fill up, a pleasant and intimate atmosphere installs itself. Combined with an attentive but discreet service, one understands why the restaurant is so popular with couples.
The menu is a continuing dialogue between Peter Wynants’ classic dishes and newer creations by Lionel Rigolet, with the evergreens clearly marked on the menu. After a pair of decidedly average amuse bouches, the kitchen starts to hit its stride with a pair of starters that leave not much to be desired. On the classic side, a potato mousseline with crab, shrimps and a generous dollop of Royal Belgian caviar is a triumph of decadence. The mousseline is warm, but strikes exactly the right temperature so that the caviar is not negatively affected and keeps its freshness. This very impressive construction is further enhanced by a creamy white oyster butter and chive sauce.
The mi-cuit of scallops and asparagus with truffles is a contemporary counterpoint to the previous dish. The diced shellfish and vegetable are both very delicate. They are given a further textural dimension by the addition of small pieces of nuts which add a nice crunch. But the star of the show are the black truffles. They are of exceptional quality. Generously shaved over the dish, it’s amazing how strong an earthy component they add to the plate.
Moving on to the mains, veal kidneys and sweetbread are another perfect example of the classic French cuisine that is served here. The kidneys themselves are still rare inside, yet their texture is reminiscent less of meat and more of mushrooms. They have a pleasant bite, which contrasts nicely with the melt-in-your-mouth sweetbread. The kitchen again shows its mastery of sauces with a mustard à l’ancienne one that is a silky delight. Just like with the starters, the sauce is kept warm on the side and re-served throughout the meal.
It is clear that Comme Chez Soi is still operating at the highest level. If one sticks to the more classic dishes, orders à la carte and is prepared to pay for luxury ingredients, one gets an experience usually limited to the top places in France.