Where To Eat Tonight: Comptoir Libanais
Comptoir Libanais has brought casual Lebanese dining to London, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. If you’re eager to explore Middle Eastern cuisine but fear a huge price tag, Comptoir is the ideal place to break bread (and boring lunch habits!)
Tony Kitous, responsible for decadent London dining dens Levant and Kenza, first brought Comptoir to Westfield Shepherd’s Bush before adding sites on Wigmore Street (nearest tube Bond Street), Westfield Stratford City, Exhibition Road and Broadwick Street (Oxford Circus).
His establishments are best characterised by moreish Middle Eastern food, atmospheric music, authentic decor and impeccable service, all offering a proper taste of the Middle East without overpowering first timers.
My trip to Comptoir was a happy one indeed. I was given an extensive and helpful guide to the menu before making my choices. True to its name (Comptoir Libanaise translates as Lebanese counter) each and every dish, wrap, tagine and mezze plate on offer is displayed behind glass – ‘what you see is what you get’ certainly rings true here. Unlike dodgy kebab shops and rundown cafes that often choose this method of sell, the food on display looked fresh and appetising, genuinely helping me decide what I wanted.
I opted for a rather healthy portion, including Mezze for 1, a Lamb Kofta Wrap and Batatta Harra, that I was assured would give me a real feel for the variety of food on offer (all in the name of research, of course!)
Freshly baked Lavosh bread tasted fabulous with tabbouleh salad (featuring my favourite ingredient, pomegranate) and an array of dips including Babba Ganuj and Hummus, alongside Chicken Sambousek, (a delicious, flaky savoury pastry) and Falafel. I found Batatta Harra to be the Lebanese version of our plain old chips – crisp, cube-shaped potato chunks flavoured with spices.
The Lamb Kofta Wrap was a decent size for the price (£6.95, but this is London!) and makes a great alternative to the usual lunchtime sandwich. Filled with soft, slow-cooked meat, fresh salad and pickles, it was particularly filling – perfect for getting you through the rest of the working day.
Everything I tried, I enjoyed, and everything I didn’t, I wanted to. Yes, it’s a great little spot for a lunchtime treat or Friday night snack, but it should also be noted that Le Comptoir Libanais offers more than your average cafe themed around foreign cuisine.
The cafe’ employs a ‘souk-like attitude’ to finding everything authentically Middle Eastern and making it available to punters, selling a variety of handmade produce to take away, from handbags to bracelets, chewing gum to jam. Pomegranate syrup used to sweeten tagines and the spicy harissa flavouring the food is all there to be bought, letting you take home the experience. In my opinion, a final stroke of genius at this pleasingly affordable venue.
Amy @ FashionBite xx