Comptoir Libanais – Review
Restaurant founder Tony Kitous is a man with a mission, to make people fall in love with Middle Eastern food, and his dream is to make Lebanese food as popular as Italian. Visiting London at just 18 years old with £70 in his pocket, Tony knew then he would own a restaurant in London one day. Now he has around 20 across the UK, Dubai and Utrecht, the mission is well underway.
Whichever branch you decide to try out, you’ll notice that colour is an important ingredient in the DNA of the restaurant. It runs through every aspect of the vibrant exterior, interior and right through to the food. We found ourselves at London’s Liverpool Street branch where the brightly painted chairs outside lead you to a colourful doorway, with the orange and blue patterned tiles leading you in. Quirky coloured glass lampshades hang down like flowers sprouting from the foliage that adorns the ceiling, with green and pink walls and traditional decorative plates and bowls proudly displayed on some of the walls, it is such a beautiful sight.
The menu is a mix of familiar middle eastern mezze dishes, sharers, wraps, tagines and grills, with some mainstream tweaks here and there. Vegan specials run throughout January and we hope they continue to run for those that aren’t just meat-free one month in a year. We opt for the full-on sharing mezze, mixed grill dish and on recommendation, the Sea Bass Sayadiyah. To give you the wow factor of a full spread, ask for the food to arrive together.
When it arrives, it’s quite an overwhelming sight, beautifully presented with beautiful pops of colour. The Mezze is like a perfectly circular lake of creamy hommos, baba ghanuj and natural labné accompanied by falafel, a lovely herby tabbouleh, cheese samboussek and flatbreads to mop it all up. The whole dish is speckled with pomegranate seeds, olives and pickles to give it pops of colour and flavour. It’s a sharers delight.
The mixed grill is a pretty standard selection of lamb kofta, chicken kofta & chicken taouk, a bed of rice and salad. The meat could be a little juicier but we used our aforementioned lakes of dips to bring the moisture.
Our favourite dish of the day was the Sea Bass Sayadiyah. A lovely roasted fillet of Sea Bass swimming in a smooth shiny lake of tahina trator sauce. This is peppered with flavoursome parsley, sumac, crispy onions and of course the obligatory sweet pops of pomegranate. It’s looked and tasted amazing.
A trip to a middle eastern restaurant wouldn’t be complete without finishing up with sticky sweet baklava, and theirs is both sticky and sweet and comes as a medley of 6 pieces, it was heaven.
Comptoir Lebanais is certainly a contender to help Middle Eastern food give Italian food a run for its money. It feels more mainstream than backstreet rustic, but to bring this cuisine to the masses that’s exactly what is required and dining at Comptoir Libanais is a real treat!
Address: Broadgate Circle, Liverpool Street, London EC2M 2QS
Written by Nyla S.