Written with the assistance of Nicky Hallam
Guildhall Shopping Centre, Queen St, Exeter EX4 3HP
Three months after our last visit, my wife and I were happy to return to the Exeter branch of Lebanese restaurant chain Comptoir Libanis on a special trip in honour of Veganuary.
Although neither of us are practicing vegans, we are both sympathetic to the vegan cause. My wife, to her credit, at least, had a fully vegan meal. I caved and chose to have some meat. But I won’t dwell on that.
The restaurant is, as before, welcoming and pleasant to visit. Staff are friendly and attentive. Even the toilets are nice with paintings of Hollywood stars of yesteryear adorning the walls. As a writer for Yours Retro magazine, I appreciated this.
The restaurant was also as good as it was before in catering for my nut allergy, removing all pistachios from the first course. Most restaurants have improved their standards on this recently, but there is still room for improvement at many.
Not here! They were great about it.
The restaurant seemed fairly quiet for a Friday night. January is, of course, traditionally a quiet month for restaurants. The other restaurants we passed looked quiet too. Comptoir Libanais looked quieter still.
The aubergine was very tasty, soft and held together well and each bite was accompanied by a pop of pomegranate freshness. This heat situation was, for me, made worse by the meal having far too much chilli on it. It practically blew the back of my head off and got my meal off to a rude start.
I much preferred the hommos, which had a smooth, creamy texture. The falafel was crunchy and the pink pickled turnip and mint provided a colourful combination. The spicy harissa sauce made it impossible to eat in full (for me anyway) though.
The tagine was perfect comfort food. The vermicelli rice made a nice change and there were peppers with aubergine, chickpeas, a tasty sauce with tomatoes and pomegranate seeds on top.
Overall: a good experience, but too spicy for me!