You know when they say home is where the heart is…they’re wrong! Home is where the kitchen is & the AMAZING aroma lingers. That’s what it’s like when you walk into the incredible Ceru (pronounced seh-roo), Potts Point.
If you live under a rock, you’re not alone, I hadn’t heard of it either (I like to learn about where I should shovel food into my mouth, it’s fine) until a few weeks ago.
Here’s a bit of context for you; “Ceru’s food mission is to share the vibrant flavours of the Levant region and Eastern Mediterranean with a perfect balance of taste and colour to you and your guests. Ceru is inspired by extensive travels to Turkey, Lebanon, Israel and the Middle East” – let me tell you, that’s EXACTLY what you get.
The food is unapologetically delicious, the executive chef’s palette is EN POINT (no joke, he told a story about being in Jordan with his wife when a street food vendor, with a wheelbarrow walking down the street, sold him an orange cake, which he identified all the ingredients & was able to recreate it! He also sat with us and discussed his food & culinary travels to the time capsule of Cuba & let me tell you, I had ALL wanderlust feels, post conversation – brb, need to learn palette skills & travel!), the decor of the restaurant is understated but has a warmth to it that makes it feel like it’s been in existence for more than the past few days.
The menu is all about experiencing that mediterranean lifestyle, tear it, share it, enjoy it, embrace it. Treat your friends like you do your family. There’s also the option of doing what I did & going alone (don’t judge me) to experience Ceru in a whole different light…you don’t need a group in order to completely demolish everything on the table, it’s doable all by yourself, haha! It’s packed and full of the most incredible produce you can get your hands on & (some of you health nuts are going to go CRAZY for this one) nearly EVERYTHING (with the exception of a few dishes) is gluten free, can be enjoyed by those of you embarking on Paleo (I know, I feel your excitement as well), vegans, ceoliac, vegetarians, gluten intolerant..you name it, you’re allergic to it, trying to live a healthier life..CERU IS THE PLACE FOR YOU! They also don’t make a big deal about it & it’s all done without the ego!
I could have basically ordered just about everything on the menu, but that would make me Hungry As Porkky and not Fork so, I went through and ordered as much as I thought my body would be able to handle. The rest of the menu will be available on the page, but in front of me I ended up with:
Four In One with Pita, which I would have preferred with the Cucumber batons BUT regardless of that, these dips were some of the freshest, most incredibly flavoured creations I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Let me just give you a little insight into eating half of this (s)quad of dips; The Hommos (or hummus) was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Being from a Lebanese background, eating hummus is basically a staple at any and every event, even at home in a regular barbecue setting as a condiment instead of sauce. THIS hummus though, topped EVERY variation I’ve ever had, because, I’ve never thought to do it, but the addition of chilli – WOW! The Spicy Roasted Red Pepper dip transported me to a whole other world, where it tasted like Harissa, but the whole thing was cut by the pomegranate molasses, giving it a tang, but then you got an endtale kick from the chilli – MAGIC!
For most people, salad is public enemy number 1! You know the saying, “you don’t make friends with salad!”, well, let me tell something to you! Salad will become your best friend, your lover, your EVERYTHING at Ceru because they’re AMAZING! I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve gone to restaurants, ordered a salad and quickly realised I could have made it at home, at 1/10th of what I just paid for a plate of leaves and 3 tomatoes. My body was ready for it, my eyes were feasting and my mouth was salivating when the plates hit the table. I ordered up the Spiced Roast Beetroot & Crisp Apple, Mint & Pomegranate & all I can say is WOW! The spiced beetroot salad was one of the most incredible dishes i’ve ever tried. I’m not one for dairy normally, but the cardamom yoghurt had my body crying for more, it tasted like it belonged in an ice-cream cone & the spiced almonds (although, not that spicy, but more barbecue flavoured) complimented both the beets and dressing entirely. Let’s not forget about the apple salad, I could have LITERALLY eaten 5 plates of it! The sweetness of the apple, the tang of the lemon, the crunch from the pomegranate & the freshness of the mint, made me realise I’ve been missing out on having all these flavours together & I need more of it in my life!
Moving onto the next two share plates that I devoured alone, we’re talking roast duck leg salad & grilled cauliflower. I’ve only recently just become a fan of eating duck, it never used to interest me because as a child, I was destroyed by the thought of potentially eating Daffy Duck (you know, the Loony Tunes character…this is not a joke, i’m being 100% serious). So having it listed as having shish tawook spices immediately got my attention, I didn’t even need to read the rest of the description, it was a “wham-bam-thankyou-maam” moment and it was totally worth it! The duck was tender, the butternut squash was delicious & putting them together was a match made in heaven! The grilled cauliflower was heavenly as well, I would have preferred it to be cooked a little longer and included tahini BUT overall, it was amazing & the inclusion of the pomegranate & labneh really brought up!
Okay, now one of my favourite parts of any restaurant is the dessert, although, I don’t usually get to eat it because, I’m a bit of health freak but last night, I threw that out the window and got my nom on, with one of the most WORTH IT ice cream flavours – BAKLAVA ICE CREAM! Tom Kime knows how to make your life so much better by introducing your body to new flavours…well in my case re-introducing me to what I haven’t had in a LONG time! All I will say, it tasted like a dream on a plate, it was worth every bite! I also ordered up a bowl of fruit & fruit is phenomenal in any state!
Overall, the experience of Ceru was incredible! Getting to speak with the incredible chef behind the food & hear about everything that goes into developing such an amazing menu, with flavours from all around the world, his vision for Ceru & the passion he has will give Sydney a reason to want to keep experiencing it all. I’m hungry for more!