As you walk in to the brand spanking new Comptoir Libanais on Gloucester road, you cannot help but feel like you have been transported to a different Country. Having recently been to Marrakech, memories of souks, the narrow markets with hanging colourful paraphernalia and aromas of food and incense alike overwhelm the senses. We all occasionally want Escapism, so this lovely place ticks that box.
Comptoir Libanais is a growing chain with a firm belief it can retain its individuality per site. This is normally a hard sell with many similar groups suffering from slipping standards, lack lustre food and questionable service as they fatten up the brand to sell on to some investor or even bigger chain. Having not been to any other Comptoir Libanais, I cannot say that this will be its fate, but if it continues along the lines of our experience recently, it will enjoy a long life of destination bliss. Also, a former colleague of mine oversaw the training, so i expected and received great service.
Let us talk about the food. The concept is a Lebanese restaurant, deli and takeaway, with other Middle Eastern influences. The focus is on healthy cuisine. Mezze style sharing plates alongside grilled meats with epic salads.
The team were very welcoming and everyone seemed to be really enjoying being there. We were sat next to the window which was great for people watching. There is a little terrace outside which will definitely be enjoyed in the Summer months We started our dining experience with a mezze platter to share which comprised of baba ghanuj (the best I have had in a long time), hommos, tabbouleh, falafel, lentil salad, cheese, sambousek, pickles and pita bread. For our main we had a mixed grill and chicken dish with tasty and succulent pieces of lamb and chicken. The meat was seasoned well.
We had crisp and tasty white Lebanese wine with the face of a smiling lady which seems to be an important part of the decor and collateral in the place. Apparently she is a famous Arabic actress from years gone by who the owner was re-introduced to when he discovered a vintage post with her face on it. The smiling face is fitting for the brand, as it speaks to the happiness we felt during our experience. Comptoir Libanais is not re-inventing a food we are already familiar with, they are just repackaging and delivering in an interesting and enticing way.
77a Gloucester Road