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Comptoir Libanais Manchester
AddressThe Avenue, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3HF
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You're instantly transported to a souk in Dubai!
Restaurants Of Manchester (Saturday 19th June 2021)
Key: 5 stars = World Class!   4 stars = FANTASTIC   3 stars = GOOD   2 stars = OK   1 star = Poor

 
Comptoir Libanais - Review June 21 Comptoir Libanais - Review June 21
Comptoir Libanais - Menu Comptoir Libanais - Specials
Decor & Ambience World Class
Positives
Moody, dark, comfy, vibrant.    You're instantly transported to a souk in Dubai, sitting in the shade with the world passing by.  A really nice bit of décor is happening in this place, it's generally a great looking venue and probably looks  above its price point if truth be told.
Positives
A sticky table when we arrived and some slightly dubious table spacing in areas.  Music got a bit loud at points too.
 
Comptoir Libanais - Review June 21 Comptoir Libanais - Review June 21
Comptoir Libanais - Mira & Toufaha Lemondae Comptoir Libanais - Espresso
Value World Class
Positives
£55 for 2 starters, 2 mains, and 3 drinks, plus 10% service. Considering location and the product on offer, the value is very decent and absolutely as you'd expect to be paying.
Positives
Service charge added onto the bill for you. Not that you should moan about that, although just a few weeks into eating out no longer being a novelty again, I suspect a lot of you would indeed moan.  Misers if you do.
 
Comptoir Libanais - Review June 21 Comptoir Libanais - Review June 21
Comptoir Libanais - Cheese Samboussek Comptoir Libanais - Falafel
Food & Drink World Class
Positives
A few weeks back we mentioned in a review of Manchester's latest Middle Eastern accented venue, Habas, that the cuisine is dreadfully represented in the UK anywhere bar London. Yet on a sunny Saturday evening we find ourselves, by sheer accident (long story), sat in a Middle Eastern chain bang in the middle of Spinningfields. How did it stack up?

A quick menu survey revealed a sizeable section occupied by burgers. Don’t get me wrong, I've eaten plenty of enjoyable burgers in the Middle East; from Wendy's, Chick-Fil-A, and a ton of other American chains in big western-feeling malls. Turn the page and your dessert menu contains cheesecake and brownie. Ordering something which felt properly Middle Eastern was starting to feel as challenging as bringing peace to the region. All in all, it wasn’t promising reading.

The 'Grills' section did promise a little more, thankfully. Now I need to drop in some aimless adjectives since this is a Manchester food write up, so; the smokey, charcoal scented notes of spiced, grilled meat and veg are what ME cuisine is all about really. And the mezze/starter section was full of the usual falafel, hummus and kibbeh. Better.

The Cheese Samboussek were actually very decent. Flaky pastry with just the right level of shortness, filled with a generous serve of cheese. A middle eastern, miniature cheese pasty. Falafel were tasty, well pressed, perfectly spiced, and plated well. Simple and delicious.

Mains wise; we bravely decided to just embrace things and jump in head first, so ordered the afore-slated Lamb and Halloumi Burger anyway. A generous portion of well spiced fries sat beside the burger itself. The bun was superb. Soft, pillow like, glazed on top, with the perfect structure to carry the contents without making a mess. The lamb patty was juicy and well spiced, with the Halloumi adding that all important cheese hit. I was impressed, and my proud inner food snob felt forced reel in it somewhat.

The Mixed Grill contained most of the grilled goodies on offer, so we ordered that too. Again, more surprises. Perfectly cooked chicken chunks sat alongside both lamb and chicken kofte, with the entire party being as well spiced and seasoned as you'll find at the price point. The rice was fragrant, well cooked and delicious. Again, our earlier pre-judgement felt off the mark.
Positives
The falafel were a touch dry, and the lamb burger could have benefitted from shredded greenery rather than one large leaf to lighten it up a bit.
 
Comptoir Libanais - Review June 21 Comptoir Libanais - Review June 21
Comptoir Libanais - Lamb & Halloumi Burger Comptoir Libanais - Mixed Grill
Service World Class
Positives
Another highlight, although not surprising since Middle Eastern hospitality is some of the most generous on earth.  Our server was Spanish too, so another nation who just gets it in terms of making you feel welcome and cared for.  She was warm, friendly, knew the menu outside out, and nothing was too much hassle, even a mid-course table wipe down.  We tipped well, and she deserved it.
Positives
Before we even got to the above interactions, the greeting was very Spinningfields-self-important to be honest.  A bit of a wait, no acknowledgement of us standing there, and a generous portion of the old 'you're lucky to be here' body language.  Funny how it always seems to be the midrange venue hosts who act this way.
 
Comptoir Libanais - Review June 21 Comptoir Libanais - Review June 21
Comptoir Libanais - Decor Comptoir Libanais - Cutlery
Overall World Class
Positives
Chains like Comptoir stoke memories of La Tasca back in the 90's.  If you've never really experienced the food which it's based on, then you'll think that it's something interesting and novel.  I reckon that many people will be in that bracket with Comptoir, and that just is what it is.  That’s no doubt what they've set out to do though.  Something different, relatively healthy, catering for all, and above all a bit of fun, even if it's about as authentic to its roots as a Hawaiian pizza.  Still, you can't really argue about it being enjoyable.  We came away having eaten a meal with less service and food failings than we had at a much more expensive mid-range venue earlier in the day. That’s what chains are meant to offer; consistency and inclusivity.  And I'm not going to waste your time by trying to make myself looking clever by suggesting that some of the produce comes in frozen/pre prepped to drive that consistency.  It's a chain.  You know that already.  But then when you're paying a tenner for a main course, isn't that the point?  And because of that, you can't knock it for what it is really, and the packed dining room was a testament to that.  If you enjoyed it, then it's a good experience.
Positives
Just not our personal bag really, as much as we wouldn’t moan if chance took us there again.
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Comptoir Libanais Reviews
Restaurant offering a Lebanese experience with real, wholesome and healthy food in a souk-like setting ~ Restaurants Of Manchester (Apr 2020)


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