Comptoir Libanais – Leeds

Gifted press meal.

As soon as you walk into Comptoir Libanais, it is an assault on the senses – brightly coloured tiles, woven baskets and trinkets everywhere you look, Lebanese music playing through the restaurant and delicious smells wafting from the kitchen at the back. In short, you feel like you’ve stepped out of a shopping centre in Leeds and into a much sunnier climate. We were invited in to try the menu last Saturday and it instantly perked up what was going to be a rainy, grey afternoon. We were seated towards the back of the restaurant and you really do forget you’re in the middle of Trinity. The decor is absolutely beautiful and you should visit for the style inspo alone…

The Drinks

Whilst we looked over the menu we ordered drinks – a Almazar beer for him (£4.25) and a Frozen Blended Lemonade (£4.25) for me. P’s beer was fine (though he much preferred the Casablanca £4.95 he had later on), and my frozen lemonade was just the thirst quencher I needed – a refreshing mix of mint, lemon and orange blossom.

The Starters

The menu is a mixture of traditional Lebanese food and a new spin on classics – everything from meze and tagines to burgers. We decided to order the Mezze Platter to start (£9.95 each) and what a feast! Hummus, baba ganoush, labne, tabbouleh, falafel, pita bread, cheese sambousek and sharp pickles. Everything on the platter was delicious; highlights were the smoky baba ganoush which I demolished pretty much solo. The falafel were light & fluffy and pickles great to cut through the richness of the dips. I also really liked the cheese sambousek (pastry parcels filled with melted cheese) but P thought his was a bit on the doughy side. Amazingly we managed to finish everything off with room for a main…

The Mains

For mains P went for the Lamb & Halloumi Burger (£12.95) and I went for the Spinach Fatayer (£9.95). P was super impressed with his burger; Lebanese spiced lamb burger which had a nice, smoky charred flavour topped with a thick slice of halloumi – really very delicious. Even better though were the batata harra (like Lebanese roast potatoes) – absolutely moreish little potato cubes coated with chilli and garlic; I couldn’t stop eating them even after claiming I was completely full.

My choice was a bit rogue for me – usually I’d go for a burger or maybe kofta but I fancied something a bit lighter so went for the spinach & cheese pastry. Honestly – it was the best choice of the menu for me. Stuffed full of spinach, feta, pine nuts and onions with sumac giving a slightly tart edge, it really was a great balance of flavours and I’m absolutely gutted I forgot to ask to take what I couldn’t finish home with me. The salad that came with it wasn’t particularly exciting (though the pita chips added a nice crunch) but the spinach & cheese pastry more than made up for it.

The Desserts

We probably should have stopped there, and we really weren’t planning to get a pudding – I promise. But our waitress mentioned how good the Chocolate Cheesecake was (it was a special so I can’t find the price online but I think it was around £5-£6) so we of course relented and ordered one to share. It was one of the best cheesecakes I’ve had – fluffy with a slightly malty chocolate flavour, topped with orange blossom syrup and candied orange peel. A perfect balance of flavours and because the base was really thin, a very light end to meal.

Yup, after all of that we were absolutely stuffed. Everything I tried at Comptoir Libanais was spot on and the service was great throughout (friendly and super speedy). It really felt like we escaped rainy Leeds and enjoyed a mini break away in Trinity – what could be better than pretending you’re on holiday for the afternoon?

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