There's nothing I love more than discovering new restaurants and trying new cuisines, so when I stumbled across a Lebanese restaurant chain that I hadn't tried before, I knew I had to pay them a visit. Lebanese food is something that has always appealed to me - Falafels, cous cous and hummus are three of my favourite thing to eat, but until recently, I had never been to an authentic Lebanese restaurant. Comptoir Libanais is Lebanese chain restaurant, with 11 branches around the UK. The company was founded in 2008 by Tony Kitous who wanted to bring wholesome and healthy Lebanese food to the western world. The restaurant caters for many different dietary requests including vegetarians, vegans, dairy free and coeliacs.
When we arrived at the restaurant, my husband and I were both blown away by the interior. Upon entering the Manchester restaurant, we were greeted with a colourful little shop filled with Lebanese cooking books, beautiful handcrafted bowls of many colours and authentic Lebanese pastries. We were then taken to our seats by a lovely member of staff who was very welcoming and handed us our menus. The atmosphere was great, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and there was a really mixed crowd, showing that Lebanese food really does appeal and cater to all types of people.
Before ordering food, the waiter asked if we would like any drinks and I opted for Laziza, a non-alcoholic Lebanese raspberry beer. I didn't really know what to expect as I hadn't tried it before, but it was lovely. The beverage poured like a beer, but tasted more like a cider. It was really refreshing and really enjoyable to drink.
For starter I choose the Falafels. As previously mentioned, Falafels are one of my favourite things so I couldn't go to a Lebanese restaurant and not try them. These falafels were the best falafels I've ever had. Crunchy and textured on the outside and fluffy on the inside, perfectly spiced and wholesome. The yogurt dip was a perfect accompaniment and the pickles were also a nice finishing touch, despite almost blowing my head off with the pickled pepper.
I really struggled to pick the main dish as there was so many things I liked, but in the end I decided to go with the Mana'esh which is a Lebanese flatbread. My flatbread was topped with Halloumi cheese, wild thyme and fresh mint and was served with a comptoir salad. It was like a mini pizza and tasted divine. I wouldn't have expected mint to go that well with cheese, but the flavour combinations worked perfectly and I was so impressed. This picture makes the meal look a bit greasy, but despite being quite heavy on the cheese, the meal was rather light. I finished feeling satisfied, but not sick to my tummy full. It was the perfect main meal.
For two cocktails, a non-alcoholic beer, two starters, two mains and a side the meal came to £50, which I think is great for a city centre meal. We both thoroughly enjoyed and it was a great introduction to Lebanese cuisine. Would I go again? Yes, in a heartbeat.
Have you been to Comptoir Libanais before?