If you’re a seafood fan and a gluten freer, you’ll know those food envy pangs all too well when someone in your party orders a round of deep fried calamari. You’ll smell it first, then hear the crunch and it will rapidly becomes all too unfair to bear. Thanks to Ceru in South Kensington, your envy can now come to an end, which is worth the trip for its spiced battered squid with harissa yoghurt alone.
Ceru is a fairly new addition to the London dining scene and models itself on authentic Levantine flavours. The restaurant, founded by former director of the Yalla Yalla Lebanese restaurant group Barry Hilton, offers an entirely gluten free menu. The only no go for gluten freers is the bread, but with the plethora of choices on the menu, you won’t even give it a second thought.
The restaurant’s friendly and informative staff recommend that customers choose up to three small plates per person, with an idea to share everything and therefore partake in an indulgent round of mezze. All bases are covered with a wide array of dips, salads, warm vegetarian dishes, meat, seafood, sides and do not forget dessert!
As a party of four we did not hold back. We started with a bowl of fadi – a dip made up of roasted zucchini, yoghurt, lemon, tahini and garlic which is served wtih fresh crudites for dipping, alongside a spice roasted beetroot and fennel salad. It was immediately clear just how fresh and well flavoured everything is from these two plates alone, which were then followed by grilled halloumi and red peppers with a harissa dressing. Soon came another top favourite of mine – zucchini and feta fritters with a mint and dill yoghurt. The fritters were rich and delicately spiced, with enough for at least two small helpings each. As a meat option we opted for the Persian kafta – a type of aromatic spiced beef, moulded into patties and served with edamame beans, caramelised onion and a tarator sauce. This we paired with a serving of the fragrant house rice (Orez Ceru), peppered with crispy onions, sultanas and parsley, the sweetness of which blended perfectly with the rich kafta flavours.
While there was barely room left for dessert after all of the sharing plates we tried, I didn’t pass up the opportunity to sample some refreshing Lemon Sorbet, which Ceru brings in from The Ice Cream Union. It was the perfect way to end such a satisfying and entirely stress-free meal.
If you are looking for somewhere to eat quickly, or slowly, but calmly and deliciously – pick Ceru. I already cannot wait to go back to this place which goes out of its way to make allergy sufferers feel at ease.