Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Review - Comptoir Libanais

I was warning my friend's friends that I would take photos of our food at Comptoir Libanais when it arrived. Then my friend jokily mentioned that she was thinking of starting a blog called 'A Woman on the Edge.' This thought kept coming back to me the next morning when I fell off the edge and went absolutely-bat-shit-Marie-Elene-of-Vicky-Cristina-Barcelona-fame-crazy. I don't think the reaction was (that) disproportionate to the trigger but there's still no denying that my motherboard blew some sort of fuse. So, after the calm after the storm after the calm, I decided to put my madness to better use and started writing a novel. Insanity and genius are interchangeable, right? At the moment it's looking like a hybrid of James Joyce/Ali Smith/Salman Rushdie/Sylvia Plath. Except without the literary skill and originality. Which is a shame because I'm not a fan of any of those authors even with their intelligence. We'll see how  this goes. So, before it all went awry. The lebanese food. Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington. Let's talk about that!
The inside was busy which is always promising. It reminded me of Dishoom, it had the same classy-canteen atmosphere to it. And there appeared to be lots of sharing going on. Loathe to ignore the local custom, we decided to get lots of plates to share. Starting with a mezze platter.
The falafel I loved although my friend disagreed. I liked the crispiness on the outside and the fact that unlike lots of falafel I've had, it wasn't overseasoned. Hummus and baba ganoush both struck me as a little bland - they tasted very similar. The little cheese pastries were deeply savoury. Hey diamond. When I first tried the tabbouleh I was struck by its freshness but for some reason, it lost its charm. It was almost slightly sickly for the last few mouthfuls. We moved onto pumpkin pastries.
I was looking forward to these but they disappointed. The texture of them was lovely but they didn't have that savoury sweetness I look for from anything pumpkin-based. A little bland to be honest.
 Lebanese fried potatoes were good. Crispy but soft with a touch of heat.
Deep fried halloumi had a bit of a stodgy texture. It didn't quite have that crispy firmness you expect from something that's been grilled.
Tagine was delicious and rich and packed full of flavour. Had everything been so flavoursome I would've left very happy. I still left reasonably happy but I would have liked more flavour and bigger portions. Oh and also the 24 hours that followed the meal to have not happened. But I can't pin that on Comptoir Libanais.

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