Many of us like to start the new year with the best of intentions. For some people January 2018 is set to be ‘Dry January’ – a teetotal cleanse of sorts – while for others it’s all about ditching animal products for ‘Veganuary’. Personally, I’m not about to subscribe to any of these month long fads, but I’m certainly on board for trying out new things. So, when I learned that Comptoir Libanais was offering a Vegan Feasting Menu for just £19.95 for two people, I was keen to see what a meat free January actually would entail..
What’s on the Comptoir Libanais Vegan Feasting menu?
The vegan feast contains a huge amount of food for two people and is all served up at once like tapas. There’s mezze to share, a healthy salad, a tagine and a very delicious dessert that you won’t believe is vegan. We actually had to combine the next table with our own in order to accommodate all of the food!
This smooth rich chickpea purée with tahini & lemon juice is served with pita bread and small pieces of beetroot. No Lebanese feast is complete without hummus and I really enjoyed this particular variety, as it had a lovely beetroot tang to it.
Again, what is a Lebanese feast without falafel? These pieces of falafel were served with a tahina sauce and some pickles and sweet chillies on the side. The consistency was spot on and they were surprisingly light.
We were also served a Baba Ghanuj, which consisted of smoked aubergine, tahina, lemon juice and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. This was served along with pita bread and had a slightly looser consistency than I expected. Considering we also had the hummus, it would have been nice to have had some kind of vegetables to dip into it as well as the pitta, but we remedied this by enjoying it with our falafel.
To complete the mezze aspect of the feast, we received a Freekeh salad which consisted of smoked green wheat, wild rocket, vine tomato, spring onion, apple vinegar & mint dressing. This was perfectly nice but we ended up taking most of it home to eat later as it was a little bit too similar in flavour and texture to our quinoa salad main.
By far the tastiest part of our lunch had to be the baked baby aubergine tagine. This was served in a rich tomato & chickpea sauce on a bed of wild rice and it was just divine. The tagine was really flavoursome and I would definitely order it again on its own. Unlike the rest of the meal, you couldn’t even tell that this dish was vegan and I genuinely think it would appeal to even the most hardened of carnivores.
Quinoa and Pumpkin Salad
Our second ‘main’ was a salad composed of quinoa, chickpea, vine tomato, fresh mint, topped roasted pumpkin, apple vinaigrette & pomegranate dressing. This was perfectly nice but I probably wouldn’t order it again as it was cold (intentionally so) and I had been hoping it would be served warm when I was eating such a large portion.
Rose Water Mouhalabia
I’ll admit, when I first read the menu I was a little bit dubious about the vegan dessert. I’ve had bad experiences with diary-free puddings before and I was a touch sceptical about the textures and flavours of a Rose Water Mouhalabia. However, this was delicious. In case you were wondering, Mouhalabia is a Lebanese milk pudding and this particular one was made from coconut milk and rose water. The texture is not dissimilar to jelly and the flavours are sweet and delicate. The dessert is designed to be shared between two and also came with a cup of Rose & Mint Moroccan Tea each – were were the perfect way to end an excellent lunch.
Our Thoughts on Comptoir Libanais
Overall, I was surprised to discover that I really enjoyed our vegan meal at Comptoir Libanais. It’s unbelievably good value for two people and it’s full of unique flavours that you may not otherwise get the opportunity to try. Nothing about the menu is stodgy and it all tastes like its packed with healthy, fresh ingredients. I’ve never been a big lover of vegan food – even though I wholeheartedly support the concept – but there’s something about combining vegan ingredients with Lebanese flavours that really take them to the next level.
If you’d like to try the Veganuary menu for yourself, you have until the end of January to pop in and give it a go. Make sure you use the hashtag #comptoirfeasts if you share any photos from your visit and you may just win a meal for 5!