Restaurant Review: Comptoir Libanais, Manchester

Comptoir Libanais – Lovely Lebanese Lunch

Comptoir Libanais Manchester aims to make Lebanese food more widely known. Nestled between war-torn Syria and tumultuous Israel, Lebanon could be forgiven for producing depressed cuisine: Comptoir Libanais Manchester’s environment was anything but. Dizzying splashes of vibrant colour with the frenetic fusing of glossy tiles, kitsch prints and miles of merchandise, created a spotlessly clean, immersive dining area. The restaurant’s interior seemed to have been designed by Elton John and Andy Warhol’s love child – not a look I associated with the Near East.

Continuing the colourful theme, Comptoir Libanais’ zingy ‘Toufaha’ (apple, mint, ginger) and ‘Roomana’ (pomegranate, orange blossom) juices were the most refreshing entity my throat had encountered – a revelation. I now no longer regard non-alcoholic drinks the domain of the devout, prepubescent or recovering alcoholics only.

Starters provided mouth-watering salty, golden, succulent halloumi – God’s consolation prize to vegetarians. The accompanying robust tomatoes, vigorous dressing and flavourful olives whisked me away from Spinningfields to the Mediterranean. The simple Baba Ghanuj granted me authentically smokey bread, lifted with bursts of exotic pomegranate.

Regarding mains, a generous hunk of hot lamb was tender, satisfying with well-formed rice. The dish was properly slow-cooked, flavourful, zealously salty but ultimately one dimensional in taste, texture and presentation. Meanwhile, the falafel & fattoush salad was attractively arranged, with pleasingly contrasting colours and shapes. The falafel was skilfully formed, with befittingly crispy out edges and bready, soft centres. The dish provided a glorious balance of sweetness and acidity, and the fresh herbs worked wonders – a rare example of a salad that didn’t need a side of chips to make it delicious.

Comptoir Libanais Manchester produced food as genuine as the charming servers’ smiles – a novelty for chain restaurants. Give it a go.

Comptoir Libanais
Review Summary

Atmosphere 8  Cost 8  Quality 8  Service 8


Comptoir Libanais, Spinningfields Manchester Restaurant Review Lebanese Food
Wonderfully refreshing alcohol-free drinks
Comptoir Libanais Manchester Spinningfields Restaurant Review Lebanese Food
Tomato & Halloumi, classic Lebanese favourites
Comptoir Libanais, Spinningfields Manchester Restaurant Review Lebanese Food
Comptoir Libanais Baba Ghanuj
Comptoir Libanais, Spinningfields Manchester Restaurant Review Lebanese Food
Falafel & Fattoush Salad
Comptoir Libanais, Spinningfields Manchester Restaurant Review Lebanese Food
Lamb Maqlooba – tender and well-seasoned

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Restaurant Review: Iberica, Manchester

Iberica Manchester – Tip Top Tapas

I loved Iberica Spinningfields. This modern Spanish restaurant pleasingly served dishes separately but rapidly, and in big enough portions to actually share. Iberica Manchester was social eating at its best, something that surprisingly few other Tapas restaurants deliver on.

Iberica Spinningfields didn’t just offer the same chorizo, gambas, calamari, patatas bravas lead menu found everywhere. I love these dishes, but Iberica Spinningfields made a refreshing change. I went weak at the knees laying eyes on their artisan cheese menu; being exclusively Spanish it provided the opportunity to discover new products and flavours.

The Red Berry Gazpacho was the finest cold soup I’d ever eaten. It was alive with vibrancy and just wonderfully summery. I’d never had a more flavoursome dish for £4. The humble Bread & Oil was as good as anywhere. The grilled Padron Peppers were pleasingly salty and made a classy beer accompaniment. The curious Spring Onion Tempura were bronzed crunchy phallic mouthfuls, served with decidedly delicious dips. The Classic Tortilla didn’t let its nation down, providing a perfectly respectable account of itself.

The meaty Sea Trout was lightly cooked and uniquely served with peanuts and Ajo Blanco sauce. The dish was certainly enjoyable, but quite expensive at £8. The Chorizo Lollipops were golden balls of fun, served with an intriguing pear aioli. In the wake of these quirky touches, came the poshest Ham, Egg & Chips in Manchester. The Sliced Cooked Beef was Spain’s answer to Bresaola and every bit as flavourful.

The Churros were piping hot, pleasingly crispy and sugary pieces of happiness. The small but perfectly formed cheese board paired marvellously with the amber-hued viscous sherry. I don’t know anything about sherry, other than that I need to drink more of it.

With the drinks menu heavily marked up and the additional 12.5% service charge, Iberica Spinningfields is at the pricier end of Manchester’s bustling restaurant scene. Given the exciting menu, quality ingredients, sophisticated atmosphere and charming staff, it is still certainly worth exploring.

Iberica Manchester
Review Summary

Atmosphere 10  Cost 6  Quality 10  Service 9

Ibérica Spinningfields Restaurant Review
A decent drop…
Ibérica Spinningfields
Bread & Oil
Ibérica Spinningfields
Outstanding Red Berry Gazpacho
Ibérica Spinningfields Restaurant Review Manchester
Padron Peppers
Ibérica Spinningfields Restaurant Review Manchester
Spring Onion Tempura
Ibérica Spinningfields Restaurant Review Manchester
Sea Trout, Ajoblanca & Pitu Sauce
Ibérica Spinningfields Restaurant Review Manchester
Fried Chorizo Lollipops w/ Pear Alioli
Ibérica Spinningfields Restaurant Review Manchester
Iberico Ham, Egg & Chips
Ibérica Spinningfields Restaurant Review Manchester
Sliced Cooked Beef
Ibérica Spinningfields Restaurant Review Manchester
Ibérica Spinningfields Restaurant Review Manchester

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