So here comes the back story… since starting this blog, all the foodies in hiding have come out and one friend in particular has been amazing at sending me and inviting me to foodie things. I was typing away at work (my FT job, vs this one… I am definitely starting to feel like I have two FT jobs though!) when I received a WhatsApp from my friend telling me she just got given a new food magazine, outside a tube station, called Foodism.
As I drive to work I would have no chance of grabbing a hard copy so I did some googling and found it in electronic form… I loved it! Pretty pictures (yes I know, I’m so easily pleased!) and insights into new openings… and that’s when I saw it Ceru… a Levantine pop-up in Rathbone Place. Well it just had to be halal and I just had to be there!
So I emailed, they confirmed they are halal and they got added to the list.
One day I was going to lunch with friends consulted the list, and decided it was a Ceru day. I emailed them and was sad to find out they were closed on Sundays and closing permanently at the end of the week. I never got around to seeing them before they closed 😦
It was (luckily) a sunny day when I popped over to London Bridge to see them. Now I say luckily because they are outside and I’m not good with walking and eating… so I was planning on taking a seat. It took a little while to find as my GPS got a little confused, but when I did the setting was breathtaking! Now you don’t usually hear that about a restaurant… Walking up to the venue nestled between some of the city’s best architecture was what looked like a holiday resort… bright colours, beach chairs, garden furniture, umbrellas, lively chatter and French music playing in the background. I had been transported abroad. It was simply stunning!
Now the place itself is not named Ceru but, London Riviera. So don’t let this throw you off, but there is a food outlet (which is Ceru) and a drinks outlet next door. We took a walk around and then I spotted an empty table so grabbed it, stretched my legs and looked up to see the River Thames right in front of me, Tower Bridge to my right, the City (gherkin and friends) right in front of me and HMS President to my left. You just can’t beat the view!
I picked up the menu and selected the chicken taouk wrap and lamb shawarma wrap with spiced roast potatoes. Evidently, I’m not a salad person! And to drink, fresh lemonade and watermelon lemonade.
The chicken taouk wrap was delicious! The chicken was marinated so well and cooked to perfection. It was served with red onion, peppers and spinach and a tomato relish. Basically exactly how I would make it at home (ok I admit, a lot better)… except maybe I’d add gherkin and a bit of humous. All the flavours complemented each other perfectly. The slight sweetness of the relish adding another dimension to the wrap.
The lamb wrap was ok, it is called a ‘pulled’ lamb shawarma on the menu taking after the pulled pork trend. More spinach in this one, with tomato and cucumber. For me comparatively, the chicken wrap was better. I don’t think the flavours worked as well in this wrap. I was lucky enough to speak to the owner of Ceru after the meal and conveyed my thoughts to her and she was not surprised at all, replying that customers either prefer one or the other. Apparently those who are ethnically English preferred the lamb, whereas others preferred the chicken. Well what do you know… sometimes we do live up to our stereotypes 🙂
Now the potatoes, what can I say… they were yum! It’s not often you come across sides that warrant blog-analysis, but these potatoes were amazing. They were served piping hot, which always wins brownie points with me. Soft and fluffy on the inside and outside spiced with cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon and a touch of chilli. Served with a sprinkling of spring onions and coriander on top. The spices worked so well together.
Finally the drinks… Well I can tell you on a summer’s day these were perfect. The lemonade definitely tasted fresh and with barely any sugar added, it was sharp and refreshing. * Warning * it is not for the faint hearted, but I loved its ‘real’ taste and the sourness. The watermelon was a lot sweeter, however still had that light and refreshing taste.
A few last things to add… they take card, yay! Don’t know about you, but it is rare that I carry cash around with me so this is a massive plus in my book. Additionally, from speaking to the owner I learnt they really care about what goes into their food, no wonder it tasted to good! No butter, no cream and no nasties. Not only that, but all their fish is from sustainable sources.
Ceru’s passion and care for their ingredients really shows through their food!