Monday 8 July 2019

Comptoir Libanais - escape the usual and try something exotic #review

I love Birmingham and I love food - and luckily, the two go very well together in Birmingham. I have lived here for almost 17 years but there's still plenty I don't know and there's always something new to try. Whatever the cuisine, you're bound to find it in our fair city, and you can even leave the bustling streets behind and be taken somewhere exotic.

On my birthday last week, we were transported to the Lebanon when we visited Comptoir Libanais, which means 'Lebanese counter', located in Grand Central (kindly invited along to review our experience). We had never been before but I have always admired the bright and colourful look of the restaurant, so I was looking forward to trying it at last.

I like all kinds of food and knew that the Lebanese cuisine features a lot of feta, houmous, mint and lamb, all of which I enjoy. I also love to try new things and to enjoy restaurants with character and a unique feel to them.

We had a very warm welcome when we arrived and were given a lovely table, set back into the restaurant so that the rest of Grand Central felt far away, and we could imagine we were in a different country altogether.

The waitress (I didn't catch her name, but she was fantastic) handed us our menus and asked if we would like recommendations, to which we said yes as we were keen to find out more about the food and drink on offer. I ordered her recommended cocktail (it was vodka and orange liqueur based, and sweet and sour all at the same time) and took time to peruse what was on offer. It didn't take time to find something we both wanted to try, and in no time, we were sampling our starters.

I went for Baba Ganoush with flatbread and Stephen chose some lamb balls with yogurt and mint. It was all so tasty and I'd recommend getting a few dishes, or opting for a sharing board, so you can try a whole range of different things.

Next, I went for the traditional tagine, with lamb and cous cous, and can report that it was full of flavour and a generous portion too. Hubs likes to try the burger as new places he visits, and went for the lamb option with halloumi, and it was soon devoured, along with some garlic cubed potatoes which I also tried (I just couldn't resist!).

Before we knew it, we were on to dessert, and Ste chose the highly recommended orange and mango cheesecake and I the dark chocolate spiced cake. Both something a little different to the norm and very light and scrummy, but I can certainly see why the cheesecake is so popular.

The vibe at Comptoir Libanais is relaxed and there's so much to take in from your surroundings, with bright colours, eclectic tiles and fun prints - plus items you can buy from the souk shop, such as embroidered bags, hammered silver pots and, of course, a cookbook so you can try recreating the taste at home for yourself. There's also a counter service for certain sweet treats too, if you would like to takeaway.

From the friendly staff to the delicious, different and affordably priced food, this vibrant restaurant is a real find and well worth trying if you are in the city (or in one of the other 23 current locations around the UK) and want to visit somewhere fresh and new.

* Our meal was gifted in return for an honest review - all words are our own.


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