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A very French eatery just arrived in Aireys Inlet

Words by Richard Cornish
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Aireys Inlet has a new eatery and it is very, very French. Le Comptoir is a French bar and deli tucked into a group of shops along the Great Ocean Road.

Le Comptoir means ‘counter’ and it refers to the long glass display cabinet packed with the best local and French cheese and local charcuterie and house-made rillettes and parfait. The offer is complemented with a choice of local and French wines from Alsace, The Loire Valley and The Rhone. “Do not forget Bordeaux,” says co-owner Sam Roig. Born in France with Catalan heritage Sam grew up surrounded by a culture rich in cheese, charcuterie and wine.

He came to Australia backpacking and was on his way to Perth when he stopped by Lorne to visit a fellow backpacker. He stayed. Then his eyes fell on local woman Asher Healey. She worked in the pharmacy. “It took me almost two years before my English was good enough to ask her out,’ says Sam with a self-deprecating laugh. The two became a formidable couple and three years ago took over the Lighthouse Tearooms in Aireys.

This winter they took over the shop at 36 Great Ocean Road and gave the modern interior a more classic patina. Two weeks ago Le Comptoir opened its doors. The room is lined with recycled timbers with bentwood chairs at wooden tables and the voice of Serge Gainsbourg purring through the sound system.

You can buy Cantal cheese from near Sam’s hometown or some locally Long Paddock cheese – made in Castlemaine by a fellow Frenchman. Sam and Asher pay homage to the Spanish side of the family with a selection of serrano and jamon pata negra bellota – acorn feed black foot ham. The menu is compact but gives you a few choices of baguettes, salads and cheese plates to sit down and enjoy a glass or two of fine wine. There is house-made parfait made with the livers of Great Ocean Ducks and rillettes made with Barongarook Pork from near Colac. Breakfast is simple French baguette and confiture, pastries, crumpet or muesli. “Our values are quality and conviviality,” says Sam. “It is simple but very good and delicious.”


What: French deli and café with great wine and light meals including breakfast
Where: 36 Great Ocean Rd, Aireys Inlet
When: 8am-8pm 7 days
More info: Le Comptoir

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung People people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
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