COMPTOIR LIBANAIS, EXETER
Where: Guildhall Shopping Centre, Queen Street, Exeter. The cities recently developed foodie quarter.
What: Lebanese & Middle Eastern food, with plenty of vegan/vegetarian options.
Who to go with: Friends who are up for something a little bit different. Your vegan and vegetarian pals will no doubt love you for making this choice.
The Food: When we visited on a lunchtime we ordered the ‘Vegan Feast’ as part of the Comptoir Libanais Veganuary offerings. This feast was designed to share and was comprised of Mezze, an Aubergine Tagine, a Quinoa & Pumpkin Salad, a Rosewater Mouhalabia (Lebanese milk pudding) and Rose & Mint Tea.
Not only was the food clearly freshly prepared but I was also surprised by how promptly we were served. It took around 5-10 minutes to relieve a table filled with small dishes (tapas style) and each element was bursting with flavour. Personally, I liked the Baked Baby Aubergine Tagine the best, followed by the Rosewater Mouhalabia. I could take or leave the Quinoa Salad though.
Comptoir Libanais also serve a variety of meat dishes, but I think that its strength lays in its veggie food, as the Middle Eastern flavours really elevate these dishes. You can also bring home anything you don’t manage to eat in reusable containers – which is a lovely way to reduce waste.
The Interior: I love the eclectic layout of Comtoir Libanais. While it certainly won’t be to everyones taste, each of their restaurant’s are decked out in vibrant, colourful patterns and quirky accents. The floors are decorated with colourful geometric tiles and every available inch of wall space appears to be occupied with products to buy – such as embellished Lebanese bags and Middle Eastern gifts – or graphic prints.
There’s also a small shop space and deli by the entrance of the restaurant, allowing diners to purchase unique foodie gifts or dishes to take home.
The Atmosphere: While I love the decor, I do find that the atmosphere in Comptoir Libanais isn’t the cosiest. While the staff are all very friendly and accommodating, the Exeter restaurant feels rather spacious (almost like a canteen) yet the tables are too close together for my liking. I probably wouldn’t recommend the place for an intimate date or for family gatherings.
What’s the damage: Generally speaking, I’d say that Comptoir Libanais is very wallet friendly. Our Vegan Feast was only £19.95 between two of us (not including drinks) and usually have great offers on, such as a Dine In For £10 Menu.
Overall Thoughts: If you’re on the lookout for somewhere to eat with your vegan or vegetarian friends, I’d recommend visiting Comptoir Libanais. The staff are friendly.