Leeds is home to just a handful of Lebanese restaurants, and Comptoir Libanais is arguably the best of the bunch.
Located next to the Everyman Cinema in Trinity, it’s also a million times better than a casual chain eatery plonked in the middle of a shopping centre has any right to be.
In short, it’s a chain restaurant that has more of an independent family feel to it. Our second visit in the past six months was even more enjoyable than the last, and gave us some of the most memorable dishes we’ve tried in some time.
The interior design pays homage to a traditional Lebanese flea market, and is filled with handbags and tacky trinkets as colourful as the food they serve. We kicked off our evening with a bottle of the excellent Faultline Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
Boasting notes of passion fruit and mango, it’s a light and refreshing white that goes down a little too easily. If you’re new to Lebanese food, then the Mezze Platter for two comes highly recommended.
With hommos, quinoa tabbouleh, falafel, baba ghanuj, natural labne, and cheese samboussek, it’s a veritable smorgasbord of flavour and colour. Highlights here are the fresh, minty tabbouleh and the baba ghanuj, which is similar to hummus but made with eggplant. Served with toasted flatbread and pickles, we devoured the lot as everything was simply too good to leave behind.
We added to this the Halloumi and Tomato from the Hot Mezze menu, which was hands down the best version of halloumi I’ve tried. Cooked under a superhot grill, it was utterly delicious and without the usual rubbery texture associated with this irresistibly salty cheese.
My Lamb and Prune Tagine proved to be another winning choice. Slow-cooked to tender perfection, the lamb was blessed with roasted almonds and sesame seeds, which married up nicely with the sweetness of the prunes.
Across the table, my dinner date for the night was enjoying the Chicken and Green Olive Tagine. Infused by a fragrant blend of warming spices, the chicken is cooked with lemon confit, carrots and green olives and offers an explosion of flavour upon each bite.
A laidback vibe, friendly team and impressive array of deliciously Instagrammable dishes make Comptoir Libanias a real gem of casual diner. If you love your mezze, then you won’t find better than this in town. Just go.
Comptoir Libanais, 27 Albion Street, Leeds, LS1 5AY.