I frequent Duke of York Square in London not just because of the lovely neighborhood atmosphere or the plethora of great shops, but mostly to visit my favorite "Lebanese Canteen":  Restaurant Comptoir Libanais. I'm not going to sugarcoat it — I'm not an expert on authentic Lebanese food. However, I do know the dishes that they churn out at this colorful Lebanese restaurant are filled with richly flavorful spices and interesting techniques. Their Lamb Tagine and Marinated Jaweneh, among other recipes, inspired me to do some experimenting in my own kitchen. Switch up your usual stir-fry or roast chicken for these unique dishes.

1. Marinated Jawaneh 

Aubrey Thompson

This is a marinated dish typical of Lebanese mezze that you can make in a flash. It requires only a few ingredients (chicken, garlic, lemon, and cilantro) and yields a succulent chicken. I used this simple recipe for the chicken wings. I nixed the parsley sprinkled on top and made this delicious parsley-yoghurt sauce instead to go with the marinated chicken. It's cheap, delicious, and a real crowd-pleaser. This one-ingredient pomegranate molasses is a must, scattered over top. The Comptoir Libinais dish benefits from its sweet richness that offsets the large amount of lemon found in the chicken.

2. Tahini Brownies 

Aubrey Thompson

The tahini in Comptoir Labanais's chocolate brownie is a game-changer. You might normally use tahini in hummus, but this rich sesame spread can be added to anything sugary to make it taste similar to peanut butter. It's rich, creamy, and adds an undeniable fudgy-ness to your average brownie. I baked up this popular recipe (it's a favorite on Insta) and it did not fail to please. These raw tahini brownie bites are also a delicious, though a tad healthier, way to use tahini in a sweet bite. 

3. Grilled Halloumi Salad 

Aubrey Thompson

Halloumi is a staple at Comptoir Libinais, appearing on everything from flatbreads to breakfast plates. Halloumi is a hard, sliceable sheep's cheese popular in Greece and the Middle East. It's basically feta's meatier, less crumbly cousin. You can make the official salad from the Lebanese restaurant here, but I like to get creative with it.

My version of the Halloumi salad is blissfully a "no-recipe" recipe. All you have to do is pan sear the halloumi on a non-stick pan over medium-high heat until a golden crust forms. Then, toss together 2 chopped cucumbers, 4 chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of salt, and one cubed avocado with the juice of one lemon and 2 tablespoons of avocado oil. Top with the halloumi and munch.

4. Lamb Tagine 

Aubrey Thompson

My attempt at Lamb and Pea Tagine from Comptoir Libinais led me to this delectable bubbly thick stew, which I created using this recipe for lamb tagine. My family — who I made this for — weirdly despises peas, so this dish ended up being mostly straight-up lamb. Still, I achieved my desired effect. Tender, fall-off the bone meat? Check. Spicy depth and garlic undertones? Check.

#SpoonTip: If you're using a regular pan like myself, this dish cooks more rapidly than in an actual tagine. Make sure to keep an eye on it. If you are lucky enough to have a tagine lying around, here are some must-know tips on how to cook with it.

5. Shashuka with Feta

Aubrey Thompson

Shakshuka is hot stuff right now. It bubbles and oozes rich tomatoe-y sauce, making it undeniably pretty — and undeniably trendy. It is flavorful, dependable, and cheap. Plus, you can eat it for any meal of the day. I made this recipe from Comptoir Libinais website, but I added a ton of extra cumin and pure sheep's feta. Whichever shakshuka avenue you go down — 'cause there are endless ways to make this dish — make sure to leave no drop of perfectly-spiced juices on your plate. Sop them up with a crusty piece of sourdough or challah bread.

#SpoonTip: When choosing good feta, make sure that your cheese only contains sheep's milk or a small amount of goat's milk. Feta made with cow's milk may develop a sour taste.

Of course, my versions of these beloved Comptoir Libinais dishes do not do justice to the real Lebanese restaurant. So the next time you're in London, go check out this colorful and delicious place. In the mean time, buy yourself a ton of halloumi and tahini — it's time to get cooking.