REVIEW: Ceru, Tottenham Court Road
Breaking news: being healthy is fashionable. No, it’s not what you wanted to hear while scoffing that third chocolate egg yesterday (no regrets), so we saved this review for post-a-choc-alypse Tuesday. You’re likely back at your desk staring at the remnants of last night’s desperate and frankly gross Nutribullet conconction, wondering when the fuck all those skin-saving, energy-building health benefits will kick in (probs never, it’s better to eat your roughage, not juice it). We’re here to help you back on the wagon – first stop, Ceru.
Bright, zingy Middle Eastern dishes are lovingly packed with flavour and perfectly match the small, thoughtfully-planned dining space. Every nook and cranny’s been made use of – though it’s somewhat of a squeeze for waitresses to get past high tables and chairs bearing armfuls of colourful cocktails, management have made sure of no dead space – extra shelving sits on every wall above the tables and coat hangers are screwed underneath.
A large wooden bar takes up half the (well positioned, it’s just off Tottenham Court Road) room, but diners have the best seat in the house perched around the edge, watching bar staff whip up jazzy drinks.
The atmosphere is quiet and thoughtful, friendly staff happy to offer help with the short but varied menu (2-3 dishes per person is the norm, great if you’re the sort of person crippled by food envy). We tried soft breads with beetroot, houmous, roast red pepper and courgette dips, followed by apple, pomegranate and mint salad (sounds simple, but easily our star dish), crispy spiced squid and the restaurant’s most famous offering – slow roast lamb shoulder with schwarma spices (scattered in more jewel-like pomegranate, we died and went to heaven). Flavours evoke thoughts of Israel, Turkey, Cyprus and Lebanon – spicy meats studded with fresher-than-fresh, exotic produce create rainbow-like plates that taste like they’re immediately doing you good.
We loved everything about Ceru, apart from the slight lack of space. Given that the restaurant will occupy this address only a few weeks longer, before spreading joy to Middle Eastern food fans on a summer tour of several major festivals, that problem will no longer apply. They hope to come back bigger and better after finding a new permanent venue, and we can’t wait for that to happen – in the meantime, we’ll keep an eye out for them at Glastonbury…
Address: 29 Rathbone Place, London W1T 1JG