I first tasted Ceru’s Levantine food at their test kitchen, before visiting the restaurant in South Kensington. Now Ceru has expanded to a second site you have even more chances to taste their food at Ceru Soho!
**Full disclosure: I visited Ceru, Soho during their pre-opening friends and family day and received my food for free – this review is my honest opinion, but you should know I love Ceru!**
Ceru serves up Levantine inspired food. You can see the area that inspires them on the large mural on the Soho restaurant wall:
This means that Ceru takes from each of the countries what works for them and reinterprets the dishes. So you end up with a mix of classic food with a twist and dishes you’ve never heard of or tried before.
The menu, like so many places, consists of small dishes designed to share. And when I say share, there is enough to split 2/3 ways! (Unlike some places where you are expected to ‘share’ 1 scallop….)
The menu is plit into salads, veggie, fish and meat, with side dishes, you need to order a couple of plates each. When I went we had 3 plates each but made the mistake of filling up on the delicious fresh pitta bread – which made it difficult to try dessert! (Don’t worry I took one for the team and tried them!)
My top tip is to pick crudités for your dips if you want to try a lot of the other dishes and bread if you are starving!
In to the mezze
An example of a dish that I hadn’t tried before is Hamarra. This dip is made from red peppers, walnuts and pomegranate molasses. Very different and unusual in terms of flavours (and very tasty!). The purple dip is the beetroot Pancar, which has a firmer texture as a dip, but is still delicious.
After filling up on dips, crudites and that fabulous fresh pitta bread, the hot food starting arriving. The Karides or prawn skewers were served hanging over the yoghurt labneh. Peeling the shells off was an authentic experience, taking me back to meals on the beach in Greece.
Everyone loves some grilled halloumi and Ceru serves theirs with grilled red pepper with a harissa dressing. Tasty goodness, with just the right amount of char!
I’m a sucker for a fritter, so we ordered two different ones, the zucchini and feta and the salt cod and turmeric.
As a vegetarian option, the zucchini fritters seem almost healthy. Served with a dill and mint yoghurt, I cleaned the plate of these! The salt cod fritters are a new addition to the menu. These include turmeric in the mix. The spicing wasn’t too strong, adding a different dimension to the flavour of the salf fish.
Another new item on the menu was the polenta and feta fries. These were different and interesting, but possibly we didn’t need them after all the rest of the food! (This doesn’t mean we didn’t eat them all…)
We also had the Persian Kofta, however this is served as one large kebab and whilst packed with great flavours, isn’t as photogenic!
By now I was quite full, however our waiter was persuasive that we should try dessert.
Coffee comes served with the traditional baklava dessert, the perfect way to balance the bitter of the coffee and the honey sweet of the baklava.
Now comes one of my favourites – the chocolate mousse pot. I’ve raved about this dessert when I tried it at the test kitchen. It is truly inspired and so prettily presented!
The deconstructed baklava of the ‘flavours of baklava’ dessert work well together but aren’t quite the same as actual baklava! I loved the cardamom ice cream as it’s a flavour that I adore. This is a lighter dessert than the chocolate mousse pot though.
A new addition to the dessert menu is the panna cotta. Made with honey and cardamom flavours, it is topped with a riot of colour with pistachio, rose petals and pomegranate. For me it wasn’t my favourite dessert (see above!) but it was something very different and unusual.
As well as a great wine list, that includes wine from each of the countries in the Levant region, Ceru likes to mix it up with cocktails!
Not all the drinks are alcohol based. There are mocktails available and of course it couldn’t be inspired by this region without having a version of lemon juice on the menu!
❓had a big night and need something to pick you up❓ If yes then I recommend the homemade lemonade at @cerulondon – this one was the grapefruit flavour ??? . I had a great night last night at @thepianoworks in Farringdon for my leaving do – my lovely colleagues got me a bottle of Brecon Botanical Gin and then I drank too many cocktails whilst singing along to the music – next time I’m sure I’ll feel better if I stick to the gin! . #cerusoho #grapefruitlemonade #levantinefoodandrink #aloveoffoodanddrink #sohorestaurantslondon #londonbylondoners #london?? #mysecretlondon #foodie #EatLoveLust #getinmybelly #imbibegram
New cocktails at Ceru Soho include the Pistachio Meringue and the Turkish Delight (can you guess which is which?!)
The pistachio cocktail is shaken up with egg white for that foam and mouth feel. Whilst the Turkish delight cocktail, accessorised with some Turkish delight, is a vodka based cocktail with rose, cranberry and strawberry liquor.
I know that Ceru was very pleased to announce their own brand beer! They have both a pale ale and a pilsner to offer
As I’ve alluded, I’m a bit biased in that I’ve loved Ceru and their food and vibe for a few years. This new location in Soho is central and that means I’ll be visiting all the more! Lunch where we had too much food, but not many drinks was c£33 a head and the £9 express menu is also available, so I think it’s reasonably priced. (Also cocktails are £7.5 which is a great price for central London.) I would definitely recommend Ceru Soho for anyone in the area for lunch or dinner.
Now I just need to visit for weekend brunch! To find out more about their menu, locations, booking etc check out Ceru’s website
If you want some more Soho based restaurant recommendations then check out the best restaurants in Soho from Jessica on How Dare She blog. Jessica did a food and drink tour in Soho and tried out a lot of great restaurants in this area (it includes gin and tacos, so I know it’s perfect for me!)