Serving up Levantine (that’s Eastern Mediterranean to you and me) cuisine, Ceru in South Kensington is one of London’s hottest new hot spots and, aside from the pita bread, all dishes are entirely gluten-free. This isn’t thanks to a clever marketing ploy, but simply a happy coincidence from putting together a menu comprising fresh, authentic ingredients. NOBREAD went to see what all the fuss is about…
With an array of dips, salads, fish, meat and veggie dishes to offer, there’s plenty for all tastes here and, as I perused the menu, felt completely spoilt for choice. Dishes are served tapas-style with good sized portions, and arrive at the table as soon as they’re ready – perfect, as the tempting smells coming from the kitchen meant I was eager to tuck in.
I started with crudités and a delicious trio of dips: Pancar (beetroot), Hammara (red pepper) and Fadi (courgette). The slightly smokey flavour of the Hammara made it my personal favourite. Next up was the Shish Taouk – two large skewers of beautifully grilled chicken marinated in just the right amount of paprika and lemon, and complemented perfectly by the light herb yoghurt served alongside.
The halloumi and red peppers were grilled to perfection, with the cheese having just the right amount of squeak and soft rubberiness (any fellow halloumi lovers will know how tough it can be to get the balance just right). Meanwhile, the Karides (king prawns) were large and bursting with fresh flavours, and the feta and courgette fritters had a satisfying heartiness that would appeal to veggies and carnivores alike.
By the time it came to dessert I was fit to burst but the treats up for grabs all sounded so inviting that I couldn’t say no – so my friend and I shared the spiced poached pears. The natural sweetness of the fruit proved the ideal pairing for the gentle kick of seasoning, and the smooth labneh in which it sat rounded off the dish perfectly beautifully. This, along with a complementary piece of moreishly sweet, nutty baklava (my first experience of it gluten-free and definitely worth the wait), was the perfect end to a wonderful meal.
Unforgettable food and attentive service all in an understated but chic setting means that Ceru has certainly earned its dues as a must-visit in the city – coeliac or not – and I can’t wait to return.