Comptoir Libanais at Grand Central Birmingham

Comptoir Libanais at Grand Central Birmingham


Posted 2019-07-30 by Alison in Birmingham follow
Birmingham isn't short of a restaurant or two with spice and Comptoir Libanais is one of them, bringing the flavours of Lebanon to the city.

Based in Grand Central, above New Street Station, Comptoir Libanais is a casual cafe-diner that offers a wide range of halal choices as well as vegan and vegetarian options.

It's welcoming and colourful, made to look like a Middle Eastern souk with an array of pots and tea urns covering the shelves. Comptoir Libanais, after all, means Lebanese counter and the national chain is trying to recreate the image of what you would be buying over the counter in a marketplace.

There's regular updates to the extensive menu to tie in with special events, but the staple favourites are always there - falafels, wraps, mezze, large salads, lamb kofta and tagines.

Sharing the selection of dips (£9.45) as a starter, it came with hummus, natural labne consisting of yoghurt, mint and spices and baba ghanuj - a puree made from smoked aubergine. There was also some flatbread on the side.

Unfortunately, it was a little uninspiring with plain flavours and not very well presented. It also seemed expensive for what you got.

In contrast, my main dish of Lamb Kofta Fattet (£12.45) made up for it. It consisted of beautifully grilled lamb kofta (kebab) in a warm tahina and yoghurt sauce that also contained crispy onions, pita crisps and was topped with some pomegranate seeds to add crunch to the very creamy consistency.

There are plenty of other grilled options that also cater for vegetarians, such the grilled halloumi marinated in wild thyme or the halloumi and zaatar man'ousha flat bread

My guest tried the Lamb and Prune Tagine with couscous (£13.45) which was not an overly large portion, but very filling. Once again, the food was served in terms of simplicity and not making the most of presentation. There was no large, elaborate tagine pot but a simple bowl of food. The taste is the most important thing, and while enjoyable, this was an average plate of food.

Along with the food, the drinks reflect Lebanese culture too with pomegranate juice or sweet rose and honey flavoured tea that is served either hot or cold. When it's hot weather, the tea over ice is a refreshing treat.

The restaurant does serve alcohol including spice influenced cocktails (£7.95 each) or Middle Eastern bottled beers including Almaza from Lebanon, Effes from Turkey and Casablanca from Morocco.

On the dessert side of things, there is a mix of middle eastern sweets and western desserts with an eastern influence priced between £4 and £5. There's baklava along with other choices like chocolate and tahini flavoured brownie, mango cheesecake or a traditional Lebanese milk pudding with rose syrup called mouhalabia.

The service is good and attentive, but the tables are pushed very closely together to fit more people into the limited space of the restaurant. The tables are too close really and it would feel more comfortable for diners to have them spread out slightly wider apart.

Another downside is that there is only one disabled toilet for everyone to use and it was not in a very clean state when I visited. The prices are also quite steep for some main dishes.

What Comptoir Libanais does offer is primarily good grilled food, particularly lamb, with flavours of the Middle East, but in many ways, you can tell that this is part of a chain of restaurants.

Comptoir Libanais is open from 8am until 10pm from Monday to Saturday and between 10am and 9pm on Sunday.

69917 - 2023-01-26 01:43:12


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