Five questions in five minutes with Comptoir Libanais founder Tony Kitous


Comptoir Libanais founder, Tony Kitous has launched his second book – Comptoir Libinais Express - which brings Lebanese cuisine on trend

Lebanon and all things Lebanese are having a moment. A certain Hollywood superstar has recently wed a British-Lebanese super lawyer. Meanwhile, closer to home in my world, Comptoir Libanais founder, Tony Kitous, the man also behind City stalwart Kenza, and its Soho sibling, Levant, has launched his second book – Comptoir Libinais Express – celebrating all food, Lebanese.

I caught up with Tony to find out how things were going in restaurant world, and what we can expect from his book.

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Hi Tony, so you have an Algerian background, yet of all North African and Middle Eastern cuisine, Lebanese appears to be a favourite. Why is that?

I was brought up with Algerian food and still love the many different cuisines from all over the Middle East. The reason I choose to have Lebanese food a lot is because it’s easy to eat on a daily basis without getting bored. There is so much variety that I can eat it 3x a day for 7 days a week and never have the same thing. It’s also great because it’s so healthy and easy to throw ingredients together to make some impressive looking (and tasting!) dishes.

Great stuff, so tell me about me about Comptoir Libanais. You already had a couple of very successful restaurants, what pointed you in this direction?

Comptoir Libanais was an idea that had been brewing in my mind for quite some time. I wanted to create a place that was friendly and buzzy and that showcased the best in Lebanese dishes to the Western world. I wanted a place that people could eat at regularly due to its vast menu and, of course, the affordability.

So is does new book just a mirror the menu of what we can find at CL?

Comptoir Libanais Express is all about fast, healthy dishes that are easy to make for people at home. It’s simple and uses affordable ingredients yet tastes great, so in that sense, yes it does reflect Comptoir on the high streets.

One final question, besides your restaurants, what are your favourite places to eat and drink in London?

I’m happy with any food as long as it’s healthy and delicious! You can find me anywhere from eating chicken and salad at Nandos, grilled kebabs in the many Turkish restaurants in North London and sharing mezze with friends in Edgware road.

Great stuff Tony. Good luck with your book and look forward to visiting soon! or @tonykitous or