It’s not too often I head down the hill to Bristol’s sister city, Bath since my boyfriend moved in with me but if I can make the excuse to go weekdays to catch up with a few rarely seen friends I will take it.
Personally, I had never heard of Comptoir Libanais but I was sucked in by their promise of Lebanese feasting and I couldn’t resist. I am a dip fiend so, within minutes, bowls of houmous, baba ganoush and harissa were dancing in my dreams and I couldn’t wait to get my hands, and flatbread, on it.
The restaurant decor is glorious, at least that is what I exclaimed when I walked in. The rich golds, pinks and blues envelop you as you walk in and you could almost be forgiven in thinking you had walked into a Middle Eastern market. Speaking of which, immediately to your left is a small “shop” offering everything from sequined tote bags to bottles of rich olive oil for you to take home and try.
Sadly, the welcome wasn’t as warm as the colour pallet but we chose a seat near the door (the few drinks we had a Hideout beforehand had given us a light glow) and opted for a bottle of white wine to split and one of Comptoir Libanais’ comprehensive looking veggie mezze plates to share before choosing our mains later.
A groaning platter of houmous, baba ganoush, creamy labneh, tabbouleh, fried falafel, cheese samboussek (a small pastry parcel) and plenty of flatbread and pickles arrived quickly and was greedily tucked into. All the components came fresh from the deli like counter at the back of the restaurant and we enjoyed extra flatbread without any fuss when we asked. Highlights were the crunchy, but not oily falafel and the fresh, zingy pickles that helped to cut through the heavy dips.
For mains my partner opted for a lamb kofta fattet, a terracotta dish served with spiced lamb kofta, generously topped with warm tahini and yoghurt with crispy onions and toasted pitta to add crunch. I went for a chicken moussakhan, a half baby chicken marinated in sweet pomegranate molasses, confit walnuts and onions and was served with rice and a salad.
My friend’s lamb was the perfect combination of sweet lamb, creamy yoghurt and spices and I wouldn’t hesitate to order this the next time I am there. My chicken was very sweet with the molasses and sadly the walnuts and onion were lost in all that sugar. The chicken itself was moist, and the rice and salad was a great calming measure against the chicken coating. I enjoyed my main but wish I had picked something else (or ate my friend’s lamb when she wasn’t looking!).
We couldn’t leave without dessert so cheesecake and chocolate cake was ordered. Again, brought from the deli counter the portions were huge and they both looked joyous. Colours that rivalled the rich decor adorned each slice of cake along with plenty of pomegranate seeds and pistachios, a real feast for the eyes.
If you’re looking for a big bite with friends I would absolutely recommend Comptoir Libanais but those who don’t have a sweet tooth would do best to have dessert and miss the chicken!
You can find Comptoir Libanis at 4 Newark Street, City Centre, Bath, BA1 1AT, right in front of the station.
This meal was offered in exchange for a review but in no way affected my opinion.