We ventured to Ceru’s Test Kitchen in Bermondsey for a food and cocktails pairing in preparation for Ceru opening in South Kensington. After needing to use Google Maps to find their slightly hidden location, in the rain, we received a warm welcome from Patricia and husband Barry (CEO), and settled down at a communal table to a cocktail masterclass by Ceru’s mixologist Michael on how to make the perfect Tanqueray cucumber martini (£7.50); and that this would kick off the Tanqueray gin theme through the evening, as its botanical notes complement Levantine cuisine!
The fresh botanical notes and background note of mint complemented the traditional Levantine nibbles of fluffy, warm flat bread and fadi (£5.50) – a roasted courgette and tahini based dip.
Next followed beautifully light courgette fritters with a crisp exterior served with a za’atar dressing, garnished with spring onions, and on a mint and dill yoghurt dip (£6.25). The saltiness of the feta helped cut through the richer elements of this starter.
Perfectly spiced Persian Kaftas (£8.50) were next, with a second round of cucumber martinis!
They were more delicately spiced than Indian kofta kebabs, and went well with the sauteed edamame beans and onions, and the tartness of the yoghurt helped cut through and balanced the sweeter notes of the dish.
Michael then decided that a lighter, citrusy Ginlette would match perfectly with the crisp Ceru Village Salad (£5.50). Loved the contrast of pita croutons with the summery sumac and za’atar (a mix of Levantine herbs) dressing.
We were then transported to the coast when the selection of citrusy coriander labneh, a spiced roasted beetroot and fennel salad (£4.95), and our favourite: Karides (£9)-sweet grilled garlic prawns arrived; bringing back wonderful holiday memories of seafood lunches by the waterfront. This was a great combination of flavours and textures that complemented each other.
We moved onto a palate cleansing Vine Cherry Tomato & Red Onion Salad (£5.25) with a wonderful Chateau Ksara red, with its super spiced notes and black cherry notes, that worked perfectly with the pretty plate of Rose Scented Kebab Skewers (£9.50) – soft, juicy marinated cubes of lamb served with a mint tzatziki and colourfully decorated with rose petals.
And what better way to round of our meal than with beautifully presented desserts of Dark Chocolate Mousse (£4.50) served in a traditional Levantine tea cup and Flavours of Baklava (£5.25), and more cocktails.
We adored the surprise of the sour cherries at the bottom of the chocolate pot which was complemented by the smoothness of the dark chocolate mousse and crunch from the pistachio top. Also, they had done a deconstructed baklava which had a fantastic hazelnut nut brittle and rounded off with a burnt honey caramel. We love desserts and are already planning on trying their Spice Roasted Pears when we visit, as we are always looking for ideas of what to do with out pears from the garden.
Wonderful Leventine food and hospitality, and fantastic cocktails to match by mixologist Michael. We love their healthier take on traditional Levantine dishes. What are you waiting for, go check them out!
Ceru’s new location and opening hours in South Kensington:
7–9 Bute Street
020 3195 3001
Monday to Friday
8am — 11pm
9am — 11pm
9am — 10pm