Grand Central has a new member of the food family with a new branch of Comptoir Libanais opening up. Aiming to bring Souk-style Middle Eastern cuisine to the UK, the chain now has venues all across the country.
The restaurant is a riot of colour, with the walls groaning with woven baskets, fezzes and brightly coloured tiles. I did think they’ve crammed in too many tables; Emma and I sat at a corner table, and found we were trapped there once people had been sat either side of us. It’s a great atmosphere though, and there’s been a queue out the door every time I’ve walked past.
We chose a bottle of white wine to share, and went for Comptoir Libanais’ own label Bekaa Valley. I’ve not tried Lebanese wine before, but it was pleasant and fruity. It went down well alongside the food.
To start, we split the Mezze Platter (£9.95). This portion is for one, but is a great amount to split as a starter. The platter is loaded with baba ghanuj, hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, freekeh salad, halloumi, pickles and pita bread.
All the parts were tasty, but we felt the proportions were off. I’d have liked less tabbouleh, which was tasty but took up half the plate, and a lot more halloumi, which was delicious, but small. The falafel was crisp, and excellent dunked into the creamy hummus.
We over-ordered as usual, and went for a Mixed Grill (£13.95) each, when I think one to share would have been plenty. The grill is made up of lamb and chicken koftas, chicken shish taouk and vermielli rice. The rice wasn’t super exciting, but the meat was good. The chicken was the highlight, lightly spiced and moist. The shish taouk was fresh and delicious, with tasty yogurt marinade.
Service was friendly and enthusiastic and several members of staff made suggestions and recommendations on food, wine and how much to order (we ignored that last part). The place was busy, but we were served promptly and our order was quick to arrive.
It was a fun evening, and I think Comptoir Libanais is a great addition to Grand Central for tasty shopping lunches in a vibrant, colourful space.
I was Emma’s plus one, so our food and drink were complementary. Emma was invited to review, but they didn’t know I was a blogger. All words, images and opinions are my own.