It’s a strenuous exercise trying to find a casual spot for lunch on a Friday afternoon. And per most of my friends’ requests, guilty of the food and drink consumed the evening prior, Friday lunch must be healthy.
Recommended by the chef and brains behind Chez Charles, I feel I’ve checked the yes to Travel Insurance before paying a visit to Comptoir 102.

Swinging open the vintage iron door, I’m welcomed by something interesting and somewhat unfamiliar – character. A space where cookie cutter and franchise strictly do not apply.

Laying down my laptop and camera, I take a stroll around the beautiful retail section of the store which includes jewelry, shoes, bags, notebook, furniture and more.

Running my fingers along the interesting textures of the retail space, my hands stop at some of the loveliest tableware I’ve seen in a long time. Although at a minimum price tag of AED 230 a plate, my hand lets go and a mental note is taken for a future splurge.

With the sun pouring in and my Wi-Fi connected I select the set menu for my lunch. In an inspiring and chic setting, combing through my emails on a table for one becomes an enjoyable experience.

The restaurant fills up with a trendy clientele leaning towards a predominantly French and European crowd.
In response to a recent Juicing Documentary I had just watched or was forced to watch rather, I trade my usual tea, for a carrot infused juice prepared to boost my immune system.

My starter arrives Rawcchini Plate, thinly sliced zucchini topped with Parmesan cheese, roasted pine nuts and fresh basil. One of my favorite textures and tastes in the World (yes that was dramatic, but true) is raw zucchini therefore making my way through the fresh flavors and nutty Parmesan is pure pleasure.

My main arrives of black-eyed peas salad seasoned with sage, garlic and fennel seeds. Taking a bite of the beans and salad, the flavors are fresh, but I instantly get main course selection remorse.

With such a big vegetarian movement underway, I feel my dish is a cop out and with an impressive starter I expect more creativity.

And for dessert Matcha Mousse a mix of macadamia and green tea powered top with fresh raspberries and kiwi.  A healthy, tasty dessert (previously an oxymoron but now a reality) does exist. The nutty creamy flavors provide a lovely backdrop to the tangy raspberries.

Finishing up my work and final drop of juice, immunity fully powered, I pack my things, say thank you to the staff and see you soon to Comptoir 102.

Arriving home, I share my healthy experience with my brother while finding myself finishing off the story at the base of my fridge.

A creative meal, yes it was, but based on my current location, (the base of the fridge) I would enjoy more quantity. I can only image how my brother, the beast, when it comes to food, (I love you BTW) would feel after that meal. Next time I’ll try the pita sandwiches.

I will return, over and over again to Comptoir 102 because it represents a movement of home grown restaurants that have heart and soul. It definitely gets my Friday lunch recommendation.


Location: JB Road Across Beach Centre
Cuisine: Healthy European
Price per couple: 150 AED