This wildly popular Lebanese canteen, takeaway and deli is an almost frenetically bustling and bright enterprise, filled with glitzy, colourful designs by Beirut designer Rana Salam. The combination of casual atmosphere, punchy looks and an above-average menu works well, and the place is usually full – although not unbearably so. Choose carefully from the menu; pre-mixed salads can seem as if they’ve sat on the counter too long. The best things we tried were the hot dishes: splendid warm, cinnamon-spiked pumpkin kibbeh with yoghurt to dip them in; and excellent chicken with pomegranate syrup, both tart and sweet. The lemonades are great too, in flavours such as pomegranate or ginger. Prices are very reasonable.
Renowned Beirut artist Rana Salam was commissioned to create the imagery for Comptoir including the artwork featuring Arabic actress, Sirine Gamal El-dine, which was inspired by a vintage movie poster. Sirine’s smile can be found adorning the walls, menus and takeaway packaging across all of the restaurants having become the glamorous beacon of the brand. With brilliant red and brushed-chrome industrial stools, bold-patterned turquoise tables and monochrome geometric flooring, Comptoir really has to be seen to be believed. Decorative ceramic tiles are a feature of the restaurants, having been something that founder, Tony Kitous, grew up admiring at his grandparents’ house.