There’s a restaurant that serves levitating cuisine? What does that even mean? Does the food float around? That’s going to be a bit ridiculous to eat…but maybe we could give it a go, I wonder how I book…
And there you have 10 seconds in the life of my food-obsessed mind. Obviously this is not a moment I am particularly proud of because really, who is silly enough to believe there’s such a thing as a levitating restaurant. In my defence we do live in a city where you can dine in the dark, sip your coffee with cats all over you, and eat cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner so why not food that floats? Is it too late to convince you that I’m not actually stupid…
Anyway. Of course there isn’t such a thing, yet. What I should have read if I hadn’t been engaging in my nasty habit of skim reading was Levantine cuisine, so yeah, you can see why I made that mistake right? This was not a cuisine I was familiar with, truth be told I had never even heard of it until a couple of months ago. Suddenly it seemed every food blogger in London was raving about this new pop-up restaurant called Ceru, which promised to ‘share the flavours of the Levant’. So what pray-tell is the Levant? Not a country but a region encompassing Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, and Israel which explained why I was seeing all those photos of falafel, lamb, and pitta bread with dips. So, so many dips.
I was intrigued because a) I don’t often eat the food of any of the Levantine countries, and b) I don’t think I read a single bad review, which just seemed too good to be true. I had mentally bookmarked it for a while but my food-obsessed mind and fickle stomach had other things on its radar so it was only when there were a couple of days left of their first pop up stint in Fitzrovia that we finally paid Ceru a visit!
We were very, very hungry so wasted no time in getting a drink and ordering- a plate of their famous dips was a must, our recent trip to Athens produced a newfound love of halloumi so that was added to the list, as was the slow-cooked lamb with shawarma spices, falafel, seared sea bream and a side of spiced roast potatoes.
The dips arrived shortly after, looking every bit as appealing as the ones I’d seen in photos, and tasting every bit as delicious as everyone said- the highlight was the spicy roasted red pepper, the lowlight was not having enough pitta bread to mop it all up with. From here the dishes arrived in such a rush I almost didn’t have time to snap before diving in.
The seared sea bream with oregano, chilli and fried garlic was my favourite; it was everything I hope for when I order fish- just cooked, crispy skin, simply paired with a couple flavours that won’t over power it. We disagreed over the shawarma spiced lamb, for a certain someone it ticked all the boxes, but not so for me. Yes, it did the usual falling apart thing that slow cooked meat should do but were it not for the fresh sharpness from the pomegranates it would have been a little dull and dry. We both agreed the falafel could have been a choking hazard, the halloumi was nice but unspectacular, however those roasted potatoes covered in a rich, smoky spice were fantastic.
So after one visit to the Levant, would I venture to the region again? For the fish and the dips alone, that would be yes. Ceru did well to showcase this lesser known cuisine— the flavours were vibrant, the dishes weren’t overcomplicated, and while the food wasn’t faultless it was fresh and comforting.
We were surprisingly stuffed, in fact in a rather unusual move we didn’t manage to finish all the food but after much dithering I pulled myself together and made room for the ice cream baklava which is all ice cream and no pastry but still an ideal way to finish!
Thanks to Ceru and Her Fav Food for having us as guests as part of their competition to win a dinner for two, but as always, all opinions are my own.
Ceru is back! From 1 June 2015, they are at London Riviera so pop along and see what you think of the flavours of the Levant!