A Taste of the Levant at Ceru

One the best things about London having such a fantastic foodie scene is that you can travel across continents without paying for the expensive plane ticket. I love the flavours of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine; and so when Ceru invited me to their new pop up restaurant on Canon Street I couldn’t resist the temptation!

Levantine cuisine is based upon meze or sharing dishes, which makes it the perfect cuisine to share with friends. It had been quite a while since Lib and I caught up and a couple of glasses of wine and some light sharing dishes was the best way to catch up.
When you order your dishes (around 5 for two to share, plus desserts, are recommended), they arrive as they’re ready, meaning that your dishes are as freshly prepared as they could be.
We started with freshly baked Greek pita bread, which was incredible, warm and full of flavour…
And went particularly well with the trio of dips that we ordered! The trio of dips includes: Pancar (roast beetroot, yoghurt, garlic and pistachio nuts), Fadi (fried baby courgette puree with tahini, roast garlic lemon and yoghurt) and Humous topped with chickpeas, green chilli and lemon.
These were all delicious, though I loved the dark flavour of the Fadi; it was unlike anything I had had before and definitely something I’ll be looking for on menus again.
The wine was served French style, in a carafe, and was a delicious accompaniment to our catch up and the flavours of our meal. Our waitress was wonderful, and suggested which wines and cocktails would go well with our meal, and was on hand to suggest which dishes she recommended.
The menu is set out into sections, namely dips, salads, vegetables, meat fish and dessert. Although most of the dishes on the menu appealed to us we really wanted to make the most of the vegetable section as it’s unlike anything you’ll try at a classic European restaurant.
The flavours of these dishes were stunning and made a lovely change from what we would both normally cook on a Monday evening! First to arrive were the herbed courgette and feta cheese fritters, spiced with cumin and cayenne pepper and served with dill and mint. Light, full of flavour and an all round delicious dish.

Our second vegetable dish to arrive was the halloumi, a classic Levantine dish. Rather than the usual fried halloumi, Ceru bake this cheese with cherry tomatoes, olives and oregano, and it was an absolutely outstanding dish. The flavours were tremendous, and even the accompanying salad was polished off by the time we were finished!

Not quite done with the vegetables yet (be proud mum!) we had also ordered the roasted baby aubergines with tomato and chilli, which Lib declared to be the best aubergines she’d ever had. Bursting full of dark flavours, but with a delicious herb yoghurt to calm everything down, this was a superb dish.

The last savoury dish to arrive was the showstopper and understandably the most popular dish at Ceru: the slow roasted lamb shoulder with shawarma spices, with a pomegranate and pistachio dressing.
The meat fell apart on the plate and was infused with delicious herbs and spices, with the pomegranate providing a wonderful texture contrast to the soft meat. A real must order if you ask me!

 

After finishing our wine, we ordered a couple of cocktails to see us through our desserts, a passionista (vodka, fresh passion fruit, lime juice and vanilla) for Lib. It’s one of those dangerously delicious cocktails that you could drink all night… Be warned!
I’m afraid I can’t remember the name of my cocktail, but do remember it being gin based and wonderfully drinkable. I love sweet cocktails and this certainly hit the spot!
There are only two desserts on the menu (great for those of us who are bad at decision making!) and so we ordered both and shared.
The yoghurt, pistachio and walnut cake was a surprising hit! I have to admit that I wasn’t sure I was going to like this when I first read the menu as I really like my sweet tooth to be satisfied, but it made a delicious dessert that complemented what we had already had.
A wonderfully light cake served with vanilla poached apricots; it was delicious.
Our second dessert was pistachio nut ice cream with roast nut brittle (careful with your teeth on this one!) and burnt honey caramel, which was excellent. I loved the flavour of the ice cream as well as the contrasting nut brittle. I wish more desserts were served with brittle as it really is a favourite of mine!

As Ceru is a pop up it’s only in Canon Street until January so make sure you don’t miss out and pop down soon!


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