I have a soft spot for Ceru. The last time I ate their delicious Levantine food was when they had a pop up at the London Riviera last year in the summer. But the first time was actually when they had their first pop up in Soho, where myself and the lovely Snita from herfavfood organised a small blogger meetup. I instantly became a fan of their food.
So when I was invited to try their new menu, which is being launched at their new permanent restaurant opening in South Kensington, I was really intrigued.
The new and improved menu consists of some the popular classics, but also some exciting new dishes, which I was particularly looking forward to trying. The thing I love about Ceru is that their whole menu is halal, which is of course an added bonus for me.
Myself and the lovely halal_girl ventured down to the Ceru Production Kitchen, where a feast was waiting for us! The great thing about the Ceru team is that they really value their customers and feedback, which is why I will always be a loyal supporter.
Starting with mocktails, I tried their refreshing Mojito. First came the Pancar, a beetroot based vibrant dip, served with Greek pitta bread. Usually beetroot dips can taste quite earthy, but I really enjoyed this. I happily slathered the pitta bread with the Pancar dip and ate way more than I should’ve.
The beef patties were new additions to the menu and were served with sautéed onion and edamame beans. It reminded me of the koftas I make at home using Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe from her Persiana cookbook. It was lightly spiced and had pine nuts and barberries in them. I enjoyed the dish overall, but my feedback was that it needed a little more seasoning and it would’ve been perfect.The charred cauliflower was also spiced and roasted. I loved the addition of the pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs, it really lifted the dish. I would’ve loved the cauliflower to be slightly more crispy, but flavour wise it was spot on!
I wouldn’t usually think of ordering an apple salad, so when it arrived I was a little sceptical. But oh boy was I wrong to judge. It provided a freshness that I hadn’t even realised was needed and a nice crunch.
Up until now, Ceru haven’t had any rice dishes on their menu. Now that I think about it, that’s pretty unusual. So they’ve decided to add their own take on an Arabic rice as a side dish. Personally, I love rice dishes. I grew up eating rice and curry, so it’s a big staple for my family. I found there was a bit too much clove in this dish for my liking, so I’m hoping this will be adjusted before the launch.
I remember trying the sea bream the first time I visited Ceru and really enjoyed it. But this time round, it blew me away. It’s delicate but still packs a punch with the chilli and garlic and a lovely lemon dressing. It was certainly one of my favourites on the night.
The lamb shoulder is probably the one reason I keep going back to Ceru. They use a secret blend of 12 Shawarma spices and cook it for 5 hours. It’s dressed with pomegranates and a mint and pistachio sauce.
Now onto dessert! This little pot is not only really pretty to look at, but also tastes great. However, don’t be fooled by the small size, because underneath this beautiful vibrant green layer of pistachio, is a delicious chocolate mousse with cherries, that help cut through the richness. This was the perfect amount, and if it were any bigger, I don’t think I could’ve finished it.
I’ve had their baklava ice cream before and it is so damn good. Served with a nut brittle and a biscuit crumb, I could’ve eaten a few scoops of this!I love being a part of the foodie community because not only do I get to try new menus before they’re available to the public, but I also get to provide real feedback that can help shape and improve a menu. Not forgetting, having the opportunity to meet other like-minded people who also appreciate good food… and don’t mind me snapping a hundred photos of a dish before they even have a chance to eat!
I’m really happy for Patricia and Barry, the wonderful people behind Ceru, who have worked tirelessly towards opening a permanent site after launching a few successful pop ups around London, as well as catering large events and festivals over the last year or so. I can only wish them the very best.
I can’t wait to bring my family and friends here. In fact, I’ve already pencilled in a meal there already! I hope you’re also looking forward to them opening on Thursday 8th December 2016. I have a feeling that South Kensington is about to get a little bit more vibrant…