Middle Eastern grub in London is trendy as ever with restaurants like Arabica and Berber & Q showcasing some of the regions tastiest ingredients. The latest to add to the bill is a new posting from Ceru in Soho, an eatery focused on flavours from the Levant.
Ceru’s original home in South Kensington has served small plates to West Londoners for some time now and it was only right Soho got in on the action too.
Sat opposite the ever busy Copita on D’Arblay St, the atmosphere at Ceru is slightly subdued in comparison. The decor transmits a sultry Sahara vibe with a yellow tinge in lighting, whilst Moroccan fretwork lines the bar and an unfinished stone effect adorns the floor giving you a sense of the outdoors.
We visited Ceru on one of the hottest days of the year. To get a little rest bite from the sun we headed to the back of the restaurant and placed ourselves directly under the air con, in full view of the kitchen antics.
Most of Ceru’s menu is gluten free with a large selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes. There are nearly 100 ingredients and 20 spices used in their cooking giving each carefully plated dish smatterings of colour and lashings of flavour.
We started with the peach and feta salad. Whilst it was a refreshing start to the meal, we fear someone went a little wild with the citrus dressing. The peach and feta compliment each other nicely, but the dressing was a little overpowering.
We followed up with some fresh greek pita bread and a trio of dips. You can pick and choose between houmous, fadi, pancar and hammara. The hammara came in at the number one spot for us; a beautifully toned roasted red pepper dip with walnuts and pomegranate molasses. It’s sweet, tangy and worked well with the roasted zucchini dip with garlic, lemon and tahini.
The five hour slow roasted lamb shoulder, although a little dry, exudes fragrant flavour. It’s rubbed in their secret 12 spice shawarma blend and drizzled in pistachio sauce.
After a short interim the next set of dishes arrived at our table. Salt cod and turmeric fritters came with a refreshing yoghurt dressing, roasted aubergine was warm and comforting and served with chermoula (Middle Eastern sauce) and a herb yoghurt. And finally, the spiced cauliflower with pomegranate, spring onion and mint completed the spread.
Dessert trumped the lot. Indulgent, rich and definitely not vegan(!), the chocolate mousse is a real treat. Sour cherries sit at the bottom of an intricately crafted pot, topped with the mousse and sprinkled with pistachio. Don’t be alarmed by its size, although small the richness of this dessert will leave you content.
All dishes were washed down with a carafe of Viognier, a fragrant white wine which took me by surprise. I usually prefer a dry white, but this tipple was a lot softer and fruitier.
Ceru is a great alternative to the usual tapas bars in Soho, and offers a range of foods for all needs and desires.
To book a table visit www.cerurestaurants.com
11 D’Arblay Street