Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ceru, 12th February

Levantine cuisine’s star is rising and I couldn’t be more pleased. After memorable meals at The Palomar and Honey & Co, I was keen to complete what I termed the trifecta and go to Arabica. And then yet another place came on the scene in the form of Ceru, a tiny restaurant offering a more affordable Levantine dining experience.


A group of us bloggers had a foodie outing kindly organized by Sheepa of Food That Makes You Smile and Snita of Her Favourite Food and we went for a mini feast for the special offer of £20 a head. To start we could choose a fresh juice or mocktail. Almost everyone chose the Patricia for some reason (the namesake of the owner) which was a mixture of pear puree, apple juice, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves (actually reading that is there any surprise we all wanted it?) but the Percy  - pomegranate, soda, ginger ale and fresh lime also looked very nice.

Once everyone arrived we were seated and our dips and breads to share came out. We had four kinds – hummus anointed with chickpeas, green shilli and lemon; pancar which was roast beetroot, garlic and pistachio; fadi – a courgette puree with tahini, garlic and lemon and then a spicy roast pepper dip made with chilli, walnuts and pomegranate molasses. We had warm pitta with za’atar to scoop it up. I could have dived right into a whole pot of all of them but my two favourites were the garlicky fadi and the warming spiced chilli dips. When the bread ran out we kept the rest of the dips aside to eat with our mains.



Choosing what to have put us all in a quandary but the lamb shoulder cooked with shawarma aromatic spices eventually beckoned. This came as strips of fatty, crispy lamb all well seasoned and spiced and adorned with pomegranate seeds. While I love the taste of pomegranate, I don’t love the fruit itself so tried to avoid them spoiling the lovely lamb. To accompany this we had fried cubed potatoes and a very fresh, light butter bean and tomato salad with, I think, some lemon and herbs.



This part was surprisingly filling and I could have happily stopped there. However, dessert was included so I didn’t. Quite a few of us ordered the baklava ice cream. Ceru seem fond of taking a well-known dish or ingredient and Anglicising it for their desserts. So the baklava didn’t have any baklava but instead had all the components of it – nut brittle, honey sauce, and scoops of pistachio ice cream. It was very lovely to eat, though I think they could get away with a smaller serving! There was a lot of ice cream.


The place is run by husband and wife team Patricia and Barry and even without knowing you can tell they’re a couple from their closeness and the speed at which Barry could get on his wife’s nerves! They made for very friendly and amiable hosts, making it feel a bit like you were round their place being treated to dinner.


And what is really great about this little pop-up (permanent place coming soon) is that the prices are so reasonable you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to come here – it’s very much a casual, drop in when you fancy (if there’s space!) kinda place. Even without our bargain set menu, the lamb dish is only £9 and that is the most expensive plate on the menu!


Ceru Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.