Photograph courtesy of Comptoir Libanais
We didn’t know quite what to expect when we visited Comptoir Libanais on Sunday to sample its “home-style” Lebanese menu. We assumed it was going to be a dark and heavily curtained joint designed to evoke the feeling of sitting in a Bedouin’s tent with a Harem of veiled belly dancers waiting to take our order from our floor pillow seats. Perhaps such expectations speak to Londonist’s misconstrued view of Middle Eastern aesthetics but we reckon it says more about the sorry state of Middle Eastern restaurant-goers experiences in London. Whatever the case, we were pleasantly surprised to find Comptoir Libanais to be brightly lit and cheerful with dashes of vibrant colour adorning its walls (in the way of giant representations of Arabian script gum wrappers and other honed-in kitsch elements throughout the dining area). We were also happy simply to see a restaurant in this part of town (65 Wigmore Street, W1U 1PZ) to be open despite the nearby department stores shutting shop around 6pm.
What elated us most was le Comptoir’s menu! We started with a massive mezze platter for two, which for £9.50 might have been more than enough food for Londonist and our dining companion. But how could we go without tasting the tagines (all priced at £5.95)? We reckon the lamb and prune tagine with cinnamon and ginger sauce was about as yummy a treat as we'll ever find between Oxford Circus and Bond Street, especially for less than a tenner! We’ll certainly be back for more! Other reasons we’ll return: rooma, a refreshing and (a tad too) sugary pomegranate and orange blossom drink (£1.50) and the macaroons. Indeed, we couldn’t decide which was tastier, the rosewater macaroon or its orange blossom counterpart. But for only £1.50 each, we won’t mind heading back for another go.
Really, we wanted to be more critical but just couldn't find any fault. Decent prices, exquisite eats, fun and casual setting. Wow. Service was efficient and friendly too.
Visit Comptoir Libanais online at http://www.lecomptoir.co.uk/