AFTER braving the cold and the frantic Christmas shoppers, my other half and I were looking to take the weight off our feet, warm up and - in the spirit of the season- stuff our faces.

We found a friendly welcome and bowls of deliciously warming food at Comptoir Libanais.

Relatively new to Reading’s Oracle Riverside, the restaurant sits just over the river, providing really nice views (or certainly the little girl at the table next to us seemed to think. Every now and then she’d laugh and point her finger and shout ‘swa’ (toddler speak for seagulls, apparently)).

Reading town centre on a Saturday afternoon coming up to Christmas is possibly one of the worst places you can be if you value personal space. But we were shown to our table quickly and accommodated without a fuss.

I was surprised to see how few members of staff seemed to be on shift; they were working their socks off and can’t be faulted but could probably have done with an extra pair of hands.

We opted for the mezze platter to share to start. It was a colourful and flavoursome array of hummus, pitta, falafel, tabbouleh, halloumi and freekeh. Delicious and, from the accounts of friends who’ve visited the Middle East, as close as you can get to the real thing in the UK as possible.

I was stuffed by the time the starter plate was mopped of its last splodge of hummus. But, it being the ‘festive’ season,the temptation is to eat and eat until you’ve got a belly like Santa.

For main we both had the tagine. Me, chicken and green olives, other half lamb and green peas.

The bowls were huge and the food was tasty. I would have liked mine to be a little more spicy, so if you too like your food hot, make sure you ask when ordering.

By this point I was really stuffed to brim....but wait, did someone say ‘baklava’?

Gooey syrup, an assortment of nuts and pastry. What’s not to like? My criticism would be that perhaps they could swap out some of the baklava for ice cream as even a connoisseur of desserts such as myself found it a little too overwhelming.

If you’re looking to expand your taste horizons in the comfort of your own town, this is definitely the place to stick on your map.