In the past couple of weeks I’d been eating out a lot…I mean more than usual and I was really starting to feel it. That sluggish feeling of too many carbs, sugar overload and just all those cocktails…
So when new pop-up restaurant, Ceru contacted me to try their food I went straight to check out the menu as I always do. Ooooh fresh salad, super food dips, plenty of veggies and grilled meats. I was already excited! Then I noticed all the meat was certified halal and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to catch up with Taz from the Halal Food Diaries without effecting my waistline too much!
The cuisine served at Ceru is Levantine…now geography was never my best subject and I had to ask what exactly this meant. The totally fabulous Patricia who owns, runs and does all the marketing for the restaurant (an absolute superwoman, if you ask me) explained to me it’s food from the Eastern Mediterranean and encompasses Turkey, Israel, Syria, Cyprus and Lebanon.
The restaurant itself is an intimate space but what really struck me was the vibrant colours.
The bright yellow shades represent the Mediterranean sun and the vibrant blue symbolised the sea. Actually the name ‘Ceru’ comes from the word ‘Cerulean’ which refers to blue hues…and you already know blue is one of my favourite colours!
Soon Taz arrived and we settled down on our yellow stools to catch up! Ever since Taz started her blog in June we’ve been communicating via social media and reading each other’s blogs. But small world, Taz and I actually know each other from the past….
I was sticking to water but Taz went for a Virgin Mojito which contain lime, passion fruit, mint and soda.
So how do we know each other? Her husband is very close friends with my ex-boyfriend and all three of them are doctors.
I really admire Taz for maintaining such a great blog and a strong social media presence whilst working full time in the hospital. Actually my hat goes off to anyone with a very busy job that also runs a blog…though I love writing my blog, other bloggers will agree it’s very time consuming!
We started off with a couple of dips and some delicious warm pitta bread. The green one is fadi, a fried baby courgette with tahini, roast garlic, yogurt and lemon it was beautifully creamy and perfect with the bread. The red one was roast beetroot, yogurt, garlic and pistachio. Now I know while these dips are packed with super healthy ingredients, the inclusion of nuts and tahini can mean they are quite calorific so I usually just have a small amount with my bread…perfect!
A salad of apple, pomegranate and mint with chilli and pine nuts was crisp, light and refreshing. A great thing about Ceru is it’s perfect for dietary requirements, as well as all the meat being halal, there are plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options too. The menu clearly specifies where a dish might include allergens such as eggs, dairy and nuts. I think this is a great sign of a restaurant that really cares about it’s customers.
Our second salad choice was crushed white beans and parsley with tomato and chili. Both salads would have also been ideal for vegans as they were totally dairy-free.
I chose mussels as one of my larger dishes and I was pleased to see all fish and seafood comes from sustainable sources. Unfortunately, the mussels were the one disappointment of the meal, I thought the dish would have been fantastic with a good hit of chili but they were a little bland. However, at the end of the meal Patricia asked for feedback and I mentioned this. She said that they would take it on board and she would talk to the chef about it. Clearly customer satisfaction is a very high priority for them.
The ingredients at Ceru are seasonal and so sea bream was the fish of the day, served with chili, lemon dressing and garlic chips. If you know me, you’ll know this dish is right up my street!! In creating the menu Executive chef, Tom Kime was keen to focus on the provenance and sustainability of the food and he himself is a huge advocate and campaigner for sustainable fishing.
After seeing pictures of Ceru’s Haloumi on Twitter, Taz had been dreaming of trying it, so this was the last of the dishes that we ordered. And while we enjoyed this we talked about the rules of Halal eating and how they compare to the Kosher dictates of my own religion. It’s really interesting to see how similar the two are!
Finally Patricia bought us out a Turkish delight creme brulee special to try. As I really trying to make this one of my ‘healthy days’ I just sampled a small spoonful of the creamy caramelised goodness but it was totally excellent!
Ceru was a lovely and intimate pop-up and with the perfect combination of fantastic food, excellent service and great company you can’t really go wrong 😉
Thank you to Ceru for giving us a chance to have a fabulous reunion and to sample some of your amazing food!
The pop-up is open in Rathbone Place until April but will be appearing at major festivals from 1st May. Follow them on Twitter to keep up to date @CeruLondon.
29 Rathbone Place
020 3195 3001
The food and kind hospitality at Ceru was free of charge for the review.