Comptoir Libanais - Bath
When family stop by during the festive period, or friends visit for a pre-Christmas get together this season, you'll certainly want to hit Bath's restaurant scene. But, with so many fantastic foodie joints to pick and choose between, where do you start? Those who are creatures of habit may have already made up their minds. But, before any reservations are made, I intend to throw those plans out the window (in the nicest way possible, I promise!) Welcome to Comptoir Libanais; a fresh and healthy Lebanese canteen that opened in Little Southgate's new food quarter in October this year.
I was recently invited in to review their new opening and discover the delights of their Lebanese menu...
But first, I feel compelled to mention the impressive décor that awaits as you step into Comptoir Libanais. Founder, Tony Kitous, had the vision of creating a vibrant space that feels welcoming and friendly, a place for "everyone to meet, eat and have fun."
From floor to ceiling, the interiors serve as a feast for the eyes, and we've not even sighted the food yet! The restaurant has been cleverly designed to resemble an authentic Souk marketplace. All manner of wonderful treasures and trinkets are artfully arranged on the walls, and piled up high onto shelves; you'll spot hand-crafted sequin shopping baskets and shiny teapots...
...as well as brightly coloured traditional felt headdresses known as tarboosh or fez hats, which of course provide the perfect photo opportunity too!
The Souk shopping experience extends to the deli counter at the front of the restaurant. Here you'll 'mmm' and 'ahhh' over the array of exotic kitchenware gifts, imported teas and spices...
...not forgetting to stop and admire the decadent display of Lebanese sweet treats, all of which are available to buy too. One of each please!
Ooo, how about bites of golden, sticky sweet baklava? How could you not!
Or, how about taking home these sweetie bags, filled with pretty pastel coloured sugar coated almonds? They get my vote!
That whistle stop tour of the interiors has put me in the mood for a cocktail!
The 'Comptoir Cosmo' (£7.95) is light, refreshing and perfect for those who love the sweeter things in life. Pomegranate juice shaken with vodka, lemon juice and an orange liqueur. The pomegranate and acidic lemon juice are balanced harmoniously thanks to the sweet kick of orange liqueur.
Scott opted for a large glass of refreshing homemade lemonade; the 'Roza' is made up of lemon, lime and rose syrup (£3.45).
Mezze-lovers, you'll want to head straight for the 'Mezze Platter' (£15.95 for two).
A colourful, plentiful corker of a dish and a wonderful way to start our dining experience at Comptoir Libanais.
Creamy hummus whipped up to a silky smooth consistency, together with tasty falafel balls, a crunchy lentil salad, tabbouleh, baba ghanuj (a firm favourite of mine), pickles, toasted pita breads, sweet pomegranate seeds and cheese sambousek.
There was a LOT to scoop up and dip into, so Scott and I decided that next time, we would certainly opt for the smaller mezze platter (£9.50 for one) and share that between us.
We made good headway with our mezze to share, but couldn't quite manage it all. Keen to make sure we saved space for our mains, and a cheeky pudding or two, we set our platter aside and awaited our next course...
Thank goodness I had saved myself some room!
My 'Aubergine Tagine,' (£8.95) on a bed of fluffy couscous was heavenly! Slow-cooked caramelised aubergine encased in a fragrant tomato and chickpea sauce. A cosy, hearty meal that was just the ticket for a wintry evening in November.
Scott went for the 'Mixed Grill,' (£13.25) and was just as happy with his main as I was with my mine. Tender lamb kofta, chicken kofta, chicken shish taouk and a generous helping of Lebanese spiced fries, known as 'batata harra.'
The meats were freshly cooked and packed full of herbs and subtle spices.
We shared our mains as we had done our starter, and Scott's dish was almost as moreish as my aubergine tagine!
Slowly making our way towards desserts, we couldn't resist taking a sneak peek of what was on offer...
Ever the sweet tooth kinda girl, I couldn't turn down dessert. Always keen to explore new flavours, I chose the 'Mouhalabia' (£4.45).
A traditional Lebanese milk pudding, flavoured with fragrant rose syrup and sprinkled with crushed, toasted pistachios. Very similar in consistency to a panna cotta, it wobbled on the plate, and its texture was rich and creamy. The milk pudding married the sugary sweet rose syrup down to a 'T.' I would order it again in a heartbeat!
Now, there are chocolate brownies, and then there are 'Chocolate and Tahini Brownies' (£4.95)...
I mean, need I say more?!
Total, utter, food heaven √ (But that's a heck of a lot of calories to burn off! A fitness workout the same day is definitely required, I'd say!)
The ULTIMATE chocolate brownie. It had that irresistible gooey centre, and crunchy, biscuity outer layer. To top it off, Scott's dessert arrived with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.
To say we were right royally stuffed may be an understatement! The portion sizes at Comptoir Libanais are very generous, so go easy when you order off the menu. We were keen to test out the savoury and sweet side of Lebanese cooking, but next time, we may switch three courses down to just the two. The service was great and we had a very attentive waitress, Holly, who took care of us throughout the evening. To sum up our experience at Comptoir Libanais, I would say it's a wonderful new addition to Bath's diverse foodie scene. A great place to take a group of friends or take the family for a relaxing, affordable meal. You can even test out their delicious recipes at home!...
Many thanks to Comptoir Libanais for kindly inviting me to dine at their restaurant in Bath. Please note that, although this is a sponsored post, all views and opinions of the dining experience are my own.
Scroll through their menu here and call or email the restaurant to book a table!