This Berwick Street branch of the Comptoir Libanais chain sits slap-bang in the middle of Soho. It's certainly pretty tricky to miss, too, with a kaleidoscopic mix of furniture, food and colourful tins of Middle Eastern produce that double as decoration. And to complete the look? A wall of wicker bags and a massive, vivid mural of Lebanese film star Sirine Jamal al Dien flashing a smile.
The menu focuses on recognisable Middle Eastern favourites, so expect mezze platters of houmous, baba ghanuj, tabbouleh, falafel, sambousek, pickles and pita alongside tagines, kofta wraps, bright and herby salads, fattets and a variety of mana'esh - Lebanese flatbreads here topped with spicy Armenian lamb sausage, or halloumi and za'atar. Sweet and sticky baklava proves popular.
A few Lebanese wines sit alongside bottles from France and Chile, Bud beer and cocktails with a Middle-Eastern influence - think rose and rum daiquiris and cosmopolitans made with pomegranate juice. Fresh rose mint tea is served in a fancy silver teapot.
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.