Review: Exeter’s Comptoir Libanais 2.0

Fozz: You’re so lucky Katrina. You got to have another dinner date with me. Are you sick of them yet? Like how sick are people of reading our conversation review pieces?

Katrina: I mean obviously Comptoir aren’t sick of them since we got invited back again! And as much as I may be sick of spending sooo much time with you, I’m definitely not tired of the food.

Fozz: For sure – I started with the Halloumi and Za’atar Man’ousha Flat Bread which is like a cheesy garlic bread but with mint. Obvs I love garlic bread, but the mint provided a refreshing difference I’d never had before. It was overpowering like I’d spilt Colgate on my starter (other toothpastes are available), but just a flavoursome surprise. Although there was far too much for a starter, you had a much better sized proportion. 

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Katrina: Yes my starter was the perfect size! I had the Lamb Kibbeh which were perfectly cooked, and had a great texture: crisp wheat parcels stuffed with moist lamb. The pine nuts and onion added an extra boost of flavour to the lamb too. I also had the benefit of some refreshing mint with the accompanying sauce.

Fozz: Sounds divine, gutted I couldn’t have any as I’m the veggie of our couple. But oh my gosh, my veggie main was gorgeous. Lucky I guess as not a huge amount of vegetarian dishes available. I went for the Aubergine Fattet though (slow-cooked aubergine, tomato, pepper, and onion moussaka with a warm tahina yoghurt sauce, crispy onions and pitta crisps) and it blew me away. The actual moussaka was lovely but it was the touches of the crispy onions and pitta crisps that made this dish – not too crunchy but not too soggy. I think Comptoir are so great at adding extra details that just finish off the dish in the most amazing ways. 

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Katrina: That’s so true, they really like to add lots of little extra flavours to a plate. For my main, I found those additional bits were really important as, on the face of it, my main could have been quite simple as I had the Spiced Chicken Taouk Burger. But, the meat was beautifully marinated and the garlic sauce was a wonderful way to cool the spice. And of course the spiced Lebanese potatoes were great, they’re always one of my favourite things at Comptoir. I was almost tempted to get them for my starter too but managed to restrain myself. How was your dessert?

Fozz: I went for an understated dessert – the vanilla ice cream with slow-cooked berry compote. It was actually the perfect way to end the meal as it wasn’t too heavy and the berry compote just had a slight tanginess to embody Comptoir’s subtle standout flavours. The vanilla ice cream was also the good stuff – you know when you can properly see the vanilla speckles in it? So you know it isn’t the soft scoop from Tesco? Delicious. Did your meal end just as sweetly?

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Katrina: It sure did. I went for the Mango and Vanilla cheesecake which was specifically recommended by our waiter. Like yours, it was quite light and the mango ensured that the cheesecake wasn’t overwhelmingly creamy, adding a sharper sweetness to the flavour. It was the perfect way to end a great meal.

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Fozz: And that bottle of Lebanese white wine we had in the meal was lush! It had the Comptoir logo on it, but it didn’t taste like a cheap own-brand wine, it was perfectly dry with a hint of sweetness. Thank you so much for a lovely meal Katrina. Less grateful for having to do another cringey conversation review again.

Katrina: Maybe this will be the last one, maybe not. Fans must keep their eyes peeled to find out…

Charlotte ‘Fozz’ Forrester & Katrina Bennett

 

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