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59 Broadwick Street
It’s impossible to pass a branch of trendy Comptoir Libanais with its kitschy murals, cheery enamel stools & food-laden counters without peering in – & once you’ve done that, resistance is
futile. You order with your eyes here, as most of the Lebanese deli-style menu is on display. Assembling a lunch or dinner to share with friends is great fun. Choose from mezze, flatbreads,
tagines, wraps, salads, pastries, cakes & more. Pumpkin kibbeh, crunchy fattoush & chicken kofta wraps are perennial favourites, washed down with homemade lemonade or fresh mint tea. Other
cool goodies include Chiclets gum & strawberry Fanta that well-travelled backpackers will know from the Middle East – though jars of harissa or pomegranate molasses from the deli are probably
better for you.
59 Broadwick Street
Oxford Circus Tube Station 355m
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 400m
Ganton Street 62m
Oxford Street Youth Hostel 71m
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 1
Micro chain Le Comptoir Libanais aims to bring fast, affordable and ‘fun’ Lebanese casual dining to London. The first branch, in Westfield, obviously worked well as there's been a slew of them opening up elsewhere.
Having never understood why there aren't more casual lunch spots like this, I was initially entranced. Sure it's got a ‘stop me and buy one’ schtick borrowed from a Jamie's Italian or a Bill's Produce Store, with everything from salad dressing to handbags on sale in the souk inspired space, but it doesn't have quite the corporate roll out feel that you'd expect from one of those. Tightly and brightly jewelled shelves, a packed glass chiller at the back stuffed with healthy greens and cartoony colourful furniture – it's a lovely, fresh and open place to be on a summer's day.
Sadly, it was hard to be anything other than underwhelmed by the food we had over lunch. Simple and authentic it might (just) be, tasty it sadly wasn't.
I ended up with an overly salty halloumi salad, the four cold bits of squeaky cheese nestling apologetically on a bed of long ago prepared salad doused in an acrid dressing. The olives particularly were excruciatingly overpowering, exploding in the mouth like slimy, saline paintball pellets.
Alongside that we shared a plate of mixed mezze. A large enough portion, but nothing like large enough in taste. We left most of it to be collected, uncommented on, at the end. ‘Highlights’ included large dry falafel cannonballs, setting the cause of that noble dish back by years, their claggy mouthfeel reminding you why your mother always had to force you to eat chickpeas.
Alongside underpowered baba ganouch came glow in the dark purple stained turnip light sabres and kebab shop pickles. A brace of chiller cold pasties of indeterminate sort were also less than the sum of their (long ago prepared) parts – sparse filling sunk to the bottom like sediment in an unloved kettle.
Will it be a success? Sadly, almost certainly. Though the central locations will struggle to bring people back for a second visit, particularly if Yalla Yalla shifts up a gear and starts to roll out branches. Would I go back? Not without some coaxing. London isn't short of decent, authentic fast food in this style, it's just a pity that, with the exception of Yalla Yalla and Momo on Heddon Street, there ain't much of it round the central parts. It's just a pitta that none of the infinitely superior Edgeware Road or Knightsbridge brands haven't capitalised on that yet.
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