Apologies for the lack of blogs recently. I’ve been changing jobs and in the thick of a particularly busy period on my German course. Anyway, I haven’t disappeared, here I am :-). I wanted to share the Comptoir Libanais restaurant with you. This was a lucky find a few weekends ago. We were in London and heading over to the Victoria and Albert Museum to see the David Bowie Exhibition but wanted to grab a bite to eat as we had a few hours spare before our exhibition slot. This restaurant is very close to South Kensington tube station so very easy to get to.
We were attracted by the idea of trying Middle Eastern food with a Lebanese twist. Actually the menu also has some specialities that would not be out of place in Morocco as there are a few tagines on offer. Comptoir Libanaise is a small chain of restaurants that was started by Tony Kitous. He comes from Algeria originally and wanted to bring the flavours of the Middle East to the London restaurant scene. This restaurant is almost part restaurant, part souk as the restaurant sells many items from the Middle East such as bags, tagines, spices such harissa and even cookery books so you can re-create the recipes at home. It has a casual atmosphere, almost cantina in style rather than elaborate restaurant. Somehow this makes it seems more friendly, relaxed and very sociable. The decoration is funky with the 3D graphics on the floor and huge images on the walls.
The staff are very friendly and helpful and we found the service was very prompt (it was mid afternoon). I have heard it can be a bit slow in busy periods but never horrendously so. Booking is probably advisable though if you want to guarantee a table.
We chose a mezze to share as a starter. This is a great dish to try if you are not sure what to choose. It included a selection of mezze bites and salads including hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, pitta bread and a wonderful pepper spiced dip.
For main course I had the chicken kofta which was mildly spiced but delicious, served with some garlic sauce and rice and my partner had the lamb tagine which was slow cooked in an individual tagine with the couscous. The lamb was exquisitely tender and both dishes were served in very generous portions.
They have a wonderful selection of freshly squeezed juices and other drinks such as home-made lemonade and my partner very much enjoyed the orange juice. However, I was intrigued by the Château Ksara reserve wine from Lebanon. They say that Lebanese wine tradition dates back 5,000 years, when the ancient inhabitants of Lebanon, the Phoenicians, first began tending vineyards, so they have had a bit of practice! It was the perfect compliment to the food as this wine had a redcurrant and plum fruit taste with an underlying element of spice.
We really were rather full after our starter and main course but we did manage to find room to share some vanilla ice-cream with some toasted almonds and honey. That was a heavenly sweet treet finish to the meal.
Our meal came to just under £65 for two which I think was extremely good value, especially considering the location and the fact that 2 glasses of wine were included!
Find the restaurant here:
South Kensington, 1-5 Exhibition Road, London SW7 2HE
Tel: 020 7225 5006