Tony Kitous arrived in London for the first time on August 6, 1988, aged 18. The self-styled Algerian "street boy" had just GBP70 in his pocket and was meant to be on holiday with a school friend, but instead, he spent his first night in Victoria coach station, and lived off chocolate for the for the first fortnight. More than 29 years later, the owner of the Comptoir Libanais canteen and delicatessen chain has 24 branches in London and across the UK, and employs 1,000 staff. They are part of a restaurant empire that encompasses three Shawa - Lebanese grill outlets, as well as Levant on Wigmore Street and Kenza in the city of London.
Praise for Comptoir Libanais: `Tony Kitous, the man credited with glamourising middle eastern food.' THE INDEPENDENT "Pippa Middleton's favourite restaurant." DAILY MAIL "Bringing mezze to the masses...[Comptoir Libanais] has Eastern allure...not to be missed." EVENING STANDARD "Famous customers range from Prince William and Pippa Middleton to David Cameron. Music legends such as Paul McCartney, Bjork and Robert Plant have also dined in Kitous's restaurants, while footballers who visit include former Arsenal and France star Thierry Henry, and - inevitably - numerous Arab players based in the UK, such as Watford and Algeria midfielder Adlene Guedioura." TELEGRAPH