comptoir libanias sea bass

With Christmas fast approaching, you’d be forgiven for rolling your eyes at the prospect of yet another meal with the standard turkey, beef and salmon offering. Comptoir Libanais impressed us last year with their alternative festive feast and so we were keen to see what they’ve cooked up for 2019.

Located next to Everyman Cinema in Trinity, the Lebanese bazaar inspired restaurant is the perfect pre-movie spot for dinner, which on this particular evening happened to be the new Scorsese epic, The Irishman.

We enjoyed a glass of Lebanese white as we checked out the Christmas menu, which on first glance appeared to be better than last year’s effort- and not a pig in blanket in sight. The sharing mezze I enjoyed here over summer was hands down one of the best I’ve tried, and the festive version looked to be just as tempting.

First up came the Lamb Samboussek, which are deliciously flaky pastry parcels stuffed with minced lamb and topped with black and white sesame seeds. The Vine Leaves here are a cut above the average too, and filled with rice, pine nuts, lemon and pomegranate seeds. Even the Aubergine with Tahina was mighty fine, and arrives fried with tahina, garlic and sumac.

The cream of the crop here, however, had to be the Harissa Spiced Chicken Hommos. Served with a creamy chickpea puree, the chicken packed enough fire to keep even the most seasoned of chilli eaters happy.

For mains, I decided to go off-piste and away from my usual chicken or lamb choice in favour of the Roasted Sea Bass. Accompanied with braised fennel, confit tomato, Kalamata olives, coriander and garlic dressing, this light, zesty dish is what white wine was made for.

And, whilst the Lamb Kofta’s with vermicelli rice won’t win any prizes for originality, they’re done so well here you won’t care. I ended with the Orange and Almond Cake, which was rich, moist and unlike any other dessert I’ve tried elsewhere.

Comptoir Libanais may be written off by some for being perched in the middle of a shopping centre, but having enjoyed three faultless meals here, it’s a place that commands repeat visits. A worthy retreat for anyone defeated by those dreaded Christmas shopping trips, the service is excellent, and the food does not disappoint.

Comptoir Libanais, Trinity Leeds, 27 Albion Street, LS1 5AY.