Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Ceru (Rathbone Place): where we shared the flavours of Levant

I've been meaning to go to Ceru since they've opened last December but work, wedding stuff and holiday planning pretty much swayed me towards foodie hermitage. When I got back from Asia, I was determined to pop 'round this pop-up with some blogger buddies for a long overdue catch-up. 

The restaurant itself is a cosy 20-odd seater with pretty little accents. I'm particularly in love with the candle holders that remind me of starry, starry nights.

While waiting for the blogger posse, I chose to kill time with a cocktail. On recommendation, I went for the Passionista. It's a sharp, refreshing cocktail made with passionfruit juice, vodka and lime.

Jasiminne, Emma and Jesse arrived and more drinks came a-flowing. Emma chose the Spring Punch (vodka, crème de cassis, lemon juice and prosecco), Jasiminne opted for the Percy (pomegranate, ginger ale, soda) and Jesse went for a Pomegranate Margarita.

We started with some dips and bread. Naturally we ordered the four in one (£6.50), and it's a great take on classic Levantine favourites. The spicy roast red pepper dip stood out for me but the houmous, fadi (courgette purée with tahini, garlic, yoghurt & lemon), and pancar (roast beetroot and yoghurt) were pretty top notch as well.

The crispy fried squid is basically everyone's favourite calamari glorified with spices that gave it a unique flavour profile. The batter is light, crispy and not greasy. It comes with a harissa dip, but if I'm being honest, the squid is delicious enough on its own.

I don't usually order anything with dill but I devoured the herbed zucchini & feta cheese fritters (£5.25) with much gusto. The taste is quite subtle, but they're very moreish.

The roast lamb shoulder (£9) was a delight to eat. Flavoured with typical shawarma spices, the meat was tender and succulent. The pomegranate and pistachio dressing gave it an interesting texture as well. It's good enough to share, but trust me, you'd almost want the whole thing for yourself.

I had high hopes for the baby aubergines (£6) topped with tomato and chilli but it wasn't particularly my favourite dish of the night. The simplistic take is commendable though. You can tell that the produce is fresh and handled with much respect.

Such beautiful food.

The Kazak spice baked lamb meatballs (£8.50) came last but damn, I'm glad I had enough belly space to gobble up. I'm impartial to meatballs but this was my favourite dish of the night. Baked in a cherry and cranberry sauce, these were sweet, savoury and bang on with flavour (just like my ballsy blogger buds!)

It's so easy to lose track of time whenever I'm with these girls. We haven't even had dessert when a very apologetic server told us they needed the table back. Luckily, Ceru has a tiny heated outdoor seating area so they offered to serve us dessert there - with blankets to keep us warm.

The baklava ice cream (£5.50) was really good. I thought it was going to be too sweet for my liking but the pistachio nut ice cream had a really nice balance to it. Topped with nut brittle and burnt caramel, this is the type of baklava I would gladly have anytime of day.

Patricia, Ceru's marketing and social media manager, treated us to a round of kir royal to keep us warm. What a lovely way to close our meal.

Overall, I like Ceru and I hope they find their permanent London residence sooner than later. The dishes are light, hearty and wholesome. And there's a little bit of everything for everyone - from the health freaks to the food fanatics, from the allergen-free to the x-ivores and y-tarians - in their sweet and short menu. Plus, they're quite sassy on social media so I'm sure you're up for a fun tweet & eat session when you visit ;)

29 Rathbone Pl, London W1T | +44 (0)20 3195 3001
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  1. I really liked it there, great food that had really good flavour and I thought that the staff were lovely.
    Lots of love,
    SilverSpoon London

    1. I really enjoyed it, too! A rather healthy, wholesome meal. =)
      Have fun in South Africa! x

  2. Ahhh, all these dishes look SO good! The squid and fritters look heavenly and I'm such a big fan of lamb. And the best thing is that everything seems really healthy...and then there's that baklava ice cream. DROOL! Have to get myself to Ceru soon :) xx