Sharing plates and cocktails or wine are a girls best friend. They’re great for enjoying over a catchup, and can easily be scaled up or down dependent on whether you’re going for lunch or dinner. I personally love them because you can have a bit of everything rather than one dish – which you might already know if you follow me over on instagram too!
Ceru is a contemporary Levantine restaurant, serving eastern Mediterranean small plates. The Soho branch is pretty big, set back from D’Arblay Street. Inside Ceru is cool, breezy and relaxed. It’s light, yet filled with earthy coloured prints, and patterned mirrors. With the heatwave we’ve had, it was almost a shame we couldn’t sit outside. But they open the windows right out, so you’re not missing out that much. Right in the window was of course where we picked our spot.
The menu features a variety of small dishes including dips (with bread), salads, vegetarian options, fish plates, meat numbers and side orders. Each section has 4/5 options, several of each sounding enticing and delicious!
We did struggle narrowing it down to the recommended 3-4 a person!
Dips. I think I could live on bread and dips. The fadi, made with roasted zucchini, garlic, lemon and tahini, was my absolute fave. It was creamy, with strands of zucchini throughout. The flavour was fantastic. Not too rich, but super yummy.
The Pancar, was good too. With roasted beetroot, yoghurt, garlic, crushed pistachio it was a deep pinky red. It was a bit more rough in texture, and quite potent in flavour – you know how beetroot can go sometimes. Perhaps a little too much with the other delicate flavours, but tasty with the warm, herby flat bread. It was a great choice to have two contrasting dips!
Because you need at least one salad or fresh raw dish when you go somewhere like this, we tried the Crisp Apple, Mint & Pomegranate Salad. Served with pea shoots, roasted pine nuts and green chilli, it was crunchy, juicy and had a delicate summery flavour to it. Perfect eaten in-between dishes with heavy flavours.
The Karides, whole grilled garlic prawns, arrived on the skewer. They were a little difficult to peel, and actually a little more average compared to the other dishes, but still a tasty option for if you’re craving fish. Although all the other options look so good in that section of the menu.
For our veggie number we tried the Roasted Aubergines with Chermoula. Resisting the halloumi. Just. The aubergine itself was soft and smoky. The accompanying creamy herb yoghurt and spicy lohz, which was almost like a paste, giving it that middle eastern touch. We definitely did not regret our choice!
And for the meat…
The Lamb Shoulder was another fave. It’s slow roasted for 5 hours in a secret blend of 12 Shawarma spices, making it packed with flavour, and super tender. It’s then served with a pomegranate, fresh mint and pistachio sauce, adding a juicy, nutty finish. The flavours work so well. It’s one fab dish.
The Merguez Chicken was fantastic too! The grilled corn fed chicken is served with a lentil & mint salad, preserved lemon and dried black olives. The lentils were perfectly prepared, the dried olives were rich and plentiful, and all together it one delicious dish!
As if that wasn’t enough, we also had to try the Spiced Polenta & Feta Fries. They were just calling out to us! With coriander and chili, I actually found them quite mild in flavour. But they made a nice accompaniment to the other hot dishes, or were great with the dips.
Of course, you can’t have a feast like this without drinks, soft or alcoholic.
The menu has plenty to choose from. When there’s a specials cocktail menu, I’m always sucked in – if you’re having an alcoholic number, how can you not be intrigued by the one menu which is shaken up, and been creatively devised?
The Pistachio Meringue had me at…Bet you can guess… pistachio. My fave. Never seen one before! With Beefeater, pistachio syrup, egg white, lime and cardamon syrup, it was light and frothy, with a delicious underlying pistachio aroma. I loved it.
The Cucumber Martini was also fab. With Beefeater too, this one had Martini Bianco, cucumber, elderflower, lemon and mint. It had a very strong cucumber taste, almost a little tart, but was refreshing and super tasty.
The rose blush was delicious too. Not overly dry. It was smooth, and accompanied the remainder of the meal well.
There is a dessert menu too. I bet you’re wondering how we even dared peek at it. Well we did. I was dying for more space to fit in the honey & cardamom panna cotta or flavours of baklava with cardamom ice cream. But I could only manage a lemon sorbet, which arrived as one seriously zesty scoop in a bowl. It was the perfect palate cleanser after such a fab meal.
- Price: A little more pricey than other small plates restaurants I’ve been to, with main dishes priced between £5.50 and £11.50. But worth it for a special occasion/fancier spot.
- Food: Delicious. Every plate was packed with beautiful aromatic flavours.
- Drinks: Go for the cocktails. Very summery. The pistachio and cucumber numbers compliment the dishes well.
- Atmosphere: Fancy, relaxed, summery vibe.
- Wait: Nothing on a Wednesday. It wasn’t overly busy.
Are you a fan of small plates too in this heatwave? What do you tend to go for?
*I was invited along to review the menu at Ceru. All views my own.