The end of last month saw the opening of Comptoir Libanais, a restaurant sharing the unique food and culture from Lebanon and the Middle East. Comptoir Libanais not only provides the taste of real Lebanese home cooking, it also lovingly replicates the feel of that home through its detailed design.
One Thursday evening George and I headed down to the newly opened restaurant. It was already absolutely rammed and the hustle and bustle really added to the Middle Eastern experience. The restaurant walls and floors are filled with the colourful tiles and there are amazing brass tables. This bright and beautiful mix of colours and patterns in Comptoir Libanais really transports you on a journey to a souk.
To go with our dinner George and I chose a white wine to share, thinking it would go with our food sharing choices. We went with the house wine, the Clos St Alphonse from the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. This wine is exclusive to Comptoir Libanais and boasts flavours of mandarin and lemon. I definitely found it sweet with a crisp ending. It was perfect to clear the palette but also refreshing.
All About Sharing – The Food
The Mezze Platter was enormous! I’m glad we didn’t order more! This platter had Baba ghanuj (sorry still not my favourite), lots of hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, freekeh salad, grilled halloumi, pickles & warm pita bread. This really was generous! The falafel was delicious and worked perfectly with the hummus. I also found the tabbouleh delicious, something I would not normally order and actually I would order again.
The Mixed Grill was also a monster! This was a three skewer selection of lamb kofta, chicken kofta and chicken shish taouk served with vermicelli rice. The lamb was my least favourite I must admit, but the chicken was delicious. The vermicelli rice was absolutely divine and really went with the meal. I picked the spicy harissa dip to go with mine, this was the spicy kick this dish needed. In all honesty, I should’ve asked for more than the little bowl that went with it. I found myself rationing this wonderful dip!
Even though we were fairly stuffed from our mains we did go with dessert. The harissa had a wonderful kick to it that I chose to cool down with the Mango and Vanilla Cheesecake. This was wonderfully velvety baked vanilla cheesecake with a sweet mango layer on top. I don’t usually go for mango, but it wasn’t overly sweet. I wasn’t so keen on the pomegranate (the popping crunchiness isn’t for me) but the pistachio went so well with it! George went with the Pomegranate & Orange Blossom Ice Cream, which she remarked at being quite sweet, but again a palatte cleanser for the immense amount of food we had for our mains!
All in all I think Comptoir Libanais will be the perfect for the passing train passenger crowd. Offering speedy service and sharing food, it’s the perfect place for this. My only issue was that we were a little cramped on our table, there isn’t much space between them! However, the food was great, the salads were fresh and the everything was seriously tasty. To be honest I really enjoy the sharing style of this kind of food. And whilst it may not be the place for a fancy dinner, it’s perfect for lunch with friends or for a meal before a long train journey home!
Are you a Lebanese food fan? Would you check out Comptoir Libanais? Let me know in the comments,
P.S. I was invited down to check out the new restaurant. As ever all words, photos and opinions are my own.
P.P.S. Comptoir Libanais is located at Unit 29 Grand Central, Stephenson Place, Birmingham, B2 4BF. They also have 21 restaurants around the country, including nine in central London and one in the Netherlands.