Sometimesit’s hard to strike a balance between casual and formal. You need a restaurant a cut above the everyday high street chains that will impress a date, but not somewhere so formal and stuffy that might make them uncomfortable. Somewhere smart enough for a professional business lunch, but still relaxed enough for you to feel at ease. This is where Compoir Libanais comes in.
As the name indicates, it’s a Lebanese restaurant, quirkier than the average meze cafe but has a lively, buzzy atmosphere. They don’t take bookings so you may get an individual table for your party or you may be seated at longer tables with other diners depending on what is available, but the communal feel adds real atmosphere to the experience. It feels rather like a Middle Eastern Carluccio’s.
Of course, being a Lebanese restaurant, they have a wide selection if small meze plates that work well either for a light lunch or a starter if you’re hungry. We recommend three plates between two for a decent size portion. We tried grilled halloumi, thick cut and grilled to perfection; delicious falafel in a crispy coating and lamb sambousek, little pastry parcels of spiced meat.
The main courses were equally as good and served in hearty sized portions. The chicken tagine with lemon and olives with couscous is ideal for a cold winter evening, if a little slightly overly lemony. The mixed grill, a combination of chicken shish, chicken kofte and lamb kofte, was a selection of tasty, succulent meat – very moreish. Possibly the most impressive thing about Comptoir Libanais though is the service, the staff are attentive, knowledgeable and very friendly. Next time you’re in South Kensington and looking for somewhere a little different for a cheap lunch check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
South Kensington, 1-5 Exhibition Road, SW7