Comptoir Libanais review – originally posted on Eat the Olympics on 15th March 2012
Comptoir Libanais (Lebanon)
When we arrived at Comptoir Libanais last Thursday, we were surprised to find the restaurant packed to the rafters at 6.30pm. Even from a distance outside, the first thing we noticed was the colourful paraphernalia dispersed around the room. When we walked through the door, the explosion of colours and loud clientele made for a great first impression. We snagged a table for two next to the window and were left to digest the menu. We both knew exactly what we wanted – picky bits to start and a couple of mains to share.
We ordered the mezze platter for one (£7.95) and the lamb kibbeh (£4.65) to share, followed by the comptoir burger (£8.85) and the chicken & green olives tagine (£7.95) for main and fat free frozen yoghurt with mixed nuts and honey (£4.95) and baklawa (£2.45) to share for pudding.
The mezze platter for one was easily enough for two to share as a starter and we were impressed. The dish included baba ghanuj, hommos, tabbouleh, falafel, organlic lentil salad, cheese sambousek, pickles & warm pita. The falafel was delicious and we enjoyed mouthful after mouthful dipped into the creamy and smooth hommos and baba ghanuj dips. Our lamb kibbeh consisted of minced lamb wheat parcels with pine nuts & onion with organic yoghurt sauce. The lamb, we are sad to say, was rather dry and as a result we didn’t enjoy nearly as much as the mezze platter.
We ordered the burger for main to try something a bit different. The lamb was tender but slightly overcooked for our liking but the harissa mayonnaise that was smothered on top was delicious. The Lebanese fries were cubes of fried potato and we enjoyed dipped them into the garlic and chilli sauces that we asked for.
The tagine was good, although apart from the delicious thinly sliced preserved lemon that was sliced on top, it was a little bland. Perhaps our fault for ordering chicken – the lamb would possibly have been the better option but Jack is scared of prunes and we had already ordered two other lamb dishes.
The portions were very generous so when the desserts arrived, we were unsure whether or not they would tip us over the edge. Luckily we had ordered the very light fat free frozen yoghurt and a few small pieces of baklawa. There wasn’t a strong flavour from the actual yoghurt itself but the honey and nut topping provided more than enough. The baklawa consisted of cashew nuts encased in flaky pastry. It was sweet and we only needed a few bites to satisfy our sweet tooths.
As we left at 8.30pm, the restaurant was still full to the brim, conversations were in full swing and customers were clearly enjoying what was on offer. We think we’ve found our new favourite Lebanese restaurant and will definitely be returning after the Olympics.
1-5 Exhibition Road
0207 225 5006