The more I think about Ceru, the more I like it. I think it's partly because the food was so fresh, nutritious and colourful - it's exactly the kind of meal I'm craving lately, what with trying to balance out the indulgent December past. But it's also because it was delicious! And eaten in good company, which always makes everything taste better.
Alexandra and I headed to the new pop-up in Fitzrovia, Ceru, one freezing Friday evening last week. Offering Levantine cuisine, meaning a mixture of flavours from Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel, their emphasis is on sustainable, fresh and quality ingredients, cooked only in olive oil with hardly a drop of dairy in sight (yogurt is as far as they get, I think). The menu is clearly marked for different dietary preferences, and there is a large selection of vegetarian dishes as well as fish and seafood.
We were very warmly welcomed by Patricia, the owner who runs Ceru with her husband and her team, as well as the friendly waitress and waiter serving us wine while we chose our dishes. It was great to hear a little bit about the background of the place, including the fact that the entire restaurant was set up in just 10 days. The decor of which I really liked, too - colourful, modern and bright.
Amidst the chatter, we managed to decide on our picks from the menu , which were:
- a selection of their dips (Pancar, Fadi, Spicy Roast Red Pepper Dip & Humous) with pita
- Crisp Apple, Mint & Pomegranate salad
- Roast Fillet of Sea Bream, Oregano & Chilli
- Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder with Shawarma Spices
- Chermoula Roasted Aubergine
Every dish was so flavourful, and we could tell that they clearly do use top quality ingredients. The dips were excellent, but what stood out to me were the pita triangles (the bread basket on the menu) - they weren't just bland old pita bites, but seasoned and topped with herbs, which I think makes a big difference. The fish and the lamb were my favourite - the lamb is melt-in-your-mouth good and the fish was light and lovely.
The dessert was the only slight letdown - the yogurt, walnut & pistachio cake was a little dry and lacked the flavour the savoury dishes had. However, I actually already have plans to return in February, so next time I'll go for something else and hopefully find a dessert in the selection that I prefer!
All in all, it was a great meal - it's a great thing to experience a pop-up like this at its beginning stages, although it was already pretty packed as you can see above. I can see Ceru becoming a very popular spot for shoppers on Oxford Street needing a refuel, or for quick lunches for people working nearby - they actually have a breakfast menu as well as a takeaway menu, so there is something for everyone.
As with everywhere these days, but especially pop-ups, it's best to follow them on their social media sites to keep up to date with any menu additions or new location news, so here are their links:
They are at their current location (29 Rathbone Place) until April, so I would suggest giving them a go before they go on tour. I'm already excited about my next visit!
Disclaimer: I was invited by Ceru for a complimentary meal, and to give an honest review. All opinions are my own, as always.