Fine dining in your front room has been a rising trend during lockdown. EMILY WILLIAMS delves into the delights of CERU, South Kensington’s Levantine restaurant that delivers flavoursome, stylish and sustainable DIY meal kits to your door.
What was going to be just another Friday night in lockdown turned into something surprising and special thanks to CERU in South Kensington. By this point, I’d exhausted all options on Uber
Eats and dried up dinner choices on Deliveroo. It was time to go back to the drawing board and find a unique and authentic meal that would transport me from the confines of the flat.
I virtually scrolled the streets of South Kensington on Google maps and the bright aquamarine awnings of CERU restaurant popped up on street view. It’s this captivating shade of blue that inspired the name of the restaurant and the Levantine cuisine that it serves. The cerulean colour represents the beauty of the East Mediterranean sea, which fringes the countries of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Jordan that make up the Levant region in the Middle East.
The word ‘levant’ originates from the French word ‘to rise’, as the sun rises in the east. It’s a historic and colourful part of the world with a kaleidoscope of flavours, aromas, and ancient cooking styles. CERU restaurant aims to encapsulate the sensorial experience of this rich agricultural region known as the ‘fertile crescent’, using fresh ingredients from top London markets, and bring it into the comfort of your home. The result? A flavour-filled package that’s bursting with Mediterranean sunshine.
I could tell from the moment my CERU delivery arrived that it was prepared and presented with care. On receipt of the large cardboard box, I stripped back the seal to unveil a cool bed of reusable frozen gel packs nestled around a vibrant parcel of ingredients wrapped in a bespoke silk scarf. As I carefully undid the knot and held up the luxurious fabric in front of me, the print revealed captivating clusters of raspberry coloured cows framed by a chic royal blue edging.
It was a thing of beauty, and before I had even turned to the ingredients, I started mentally
pairing it with outfits in my wardrobe. What a brilliant idea - CERU has crafted stand-out sustainable packaging that combines its food concepts with a fashion accessory. With this stylish keepsake, the memory of the meal kit experience lives on beyond the final bite. Never mind haute couture, haute cuisine anyone?
At once, I’d donned the scarf around my neck and was beaming from ear to ear as I unpacked the ingredients and laid them out on the counter. Each vacuum-packed bioplastic slip was clearly labelled with allergen information and the Beef Fillet recipe card provided detailed instructions alongside a step by step video link condensed into a useful QR code.
I was impressed by how easy the instructions were to follow (the whole recipe only took 20 minutes in total), and how well adjusted they were to domestic kitchen conditions. All the ingredients were included and only familiar cooking equipment was required, such as an electric or gas hob, an oven with two shelves, a sharp knife for chopping, one bowl for tossing the cooked potatoes, two metal oven trays and a grill or frying pan.
As I cut open each ingredient package, I could smell and see the fresh quality of the ingredients, from the aromatic zing of the Zhug salsa to the lean tenderness of both beef fillets. For starters, homemade houmous and warm pitta were on the cards, a winning combination. Dipping the light and fluffy bread segments into melt-in-the-mouth garlicky creaminess set off the meal to a great start and it was only up from there.
Achieving a perfectly cooked medium rare beef fillet was far less daunting when the recipe specified minute by minute instructions. All it took was 1 minute 45 seconds in the frying pan on each side, followed by 8 and a half minutes in the oven to create that edge to edge pink interior and a seared outer casing. As I plated it over the artistic sweep of verdant Zhug salsa and sprinkled it with crushed hazelnuts, I was amazed at how professional the finished fillet looked. CERU has refined the minutiae of the menu so that customers can get it right every time.
The side dishes were another highlight in the overall composition. CERU provided lightly spiced pre-cooked potatoes that only needed 10 minutes in the oven to complete. Meanwhile, sauteeing the tender stem broccoli added a divine dose of green, topped with the contrast of velvety tahini. Tucking into the varied palate of textures and tastes, I felt completely transported and excited by the thought of visiting the Levant region in person.
CERU provides a gastronomic journey that fuses Levantine cooking methods, locally sourced British ingredients and a premium restaurant experience in a relaxed setting of your choice. Plus, thanks to their environmentally-conscious plush silk packaging, you can indulge in high-quality cuisine and embellish your wardrobe all in one go. CERU delivers a dine at home meal kit that goes the extra mile — it’s a flavoursome and fashionable silk-wrapped sensation.
To order your CERU cook at home meal kit, visit: www.cerurestaurants.com