A review of Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington
Tony Kitous is a rising star in the restaurant world. He began with three restaurants named Levant, Pasha and Kenza and more recently set up Comptoir Libanais. Translated “Lebanese counter”, there are now five of these “affordable and easy” canteens and three more are opening shortly including one in Chelsea’s Duke of York Square.
Open from 8am to midnight Monday to Saturday, Comptoir Libanais South Kensington is situated close to the Victoria & Albert and Natural History Museums and is popular with locals as much as it is with Lebanese people and tourists. It has a buzzy atmosphere and run ably by Paul Hanna, it is bright, colourful and friendly. This is not a Lebanese venue that’s about shisha culture. It’s one that’s completely driven by fresh food and sharing.
The menu of this egalitarian venue is split into mezze, small bites and salads and mains of platters, wraps and tagines. Grilled halloumi steaks with fig in rose syrup (£5.80) were excellent and such things as tabbouleh (£4.25) were colourful and delicious.
A mixed grill of lamb kofta, chicken kofta, chicken shish taouk with organic rice with vermicelli is the most expensive main course on offer (£12.95) and with such things as man’oucha – Lebanese pizzas – at £4.95 to £5.45, here indeed are offerings that represent great value.
The wine list isn’t extensive but a highlight was the Château Musar at £33.95. My dining companion, having tried this in Lebanon, was especially impressed to find this but for those on a lower budget there is plenty else.
It’s no wonder Tony Kitous is feeding upto 15,000 people per day across all of his restaurants. His concept is fantastic and it will deservedly prosper.
Comptoir Libanais, 1 – 5 Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2HE. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7225 5006.
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