Five reasons to try Levantine food

Combining the variety of rich flavours found in the Levant, we take our guests on a journey across the Middle East in the heart of London.

But what is the Levant, you might ask?

The Levant broadly encompasses Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and Palestine, making it a kaleidoscope of flavour, spices, and culture. With a rich tapestry of variety and a kaleidoscopic history behind each and every flavour, Levantine food is to die for.

As if that wasn’t enough of a reason, here are our top five reasons why you need to try Levantine food: 

1) It’s the food of the rising sun

The word ‘levant’ is French for ‘rising sun’. It was first used roughly 500 years ago to refer to folks living or working near the Mediterranean Sea who mediated between the East and the West. This intersection of art, literature, language, and most importantly, food became a melting pot culture that celebrated the world outside the borders of maps. 

2) It’s the food of the ‘fertile crescent’ 

Nowadays, Levantine refers to the cultures and countries in the southeast corner of the Mediterranean. And in that corner of the Earth, humans embarked on their first adventures in agriculture more than 10,000 years ago. Fresh, locally-sourced produce makes Levantine food high-quality and high in flavour.

3) It’s the food of the Roman Empire 

Although the ancient Romans may not have a rosy track record, it’s safe to say they had great taste in cuisine. Hummus, baba ghanoush, and tabbouleh were often feasted on by the Romans and Phoenicians back in the day. You can even read of skewered meats – a famous Levantine/Turkish dish – in ‘Homer’s Odyssey.’ The kebab is as old as poetry itself!

4) It’s the food of endless variety 

With hundreds of spices at their disposal, the Levantine locals could have easily hosted the Food Network with their expansive cookbooks. Just take Levantine dips – a side-dish or simple condiment to some. But, the Levantines prioritise it above all, including several variations of hummus, alongside smaller plates of fadi (zucchini, yoghurt, lemon, and tahini) and hammera (red pepper, pomegranates, and walnuts). Even with just 1% of the Levantine recipe book, you can see how endless the flavour combinations can be. 

5) It’s perfect for any diet

Chickpeas, tahini, halloumi, aubergine, peppers, zucchini, olives, pomegranates, mint, and lemon – all these are among the Levant’s staple ingredients, and perfect for Vegetarian’s and Vegan’s intent on an evening’s feasting, scooped up in strips of fresh-baked pita bread.

Ceru Admin
Five hours later... London’s Slowest Roasted Lamb
180518_Ceru_LambShoulder_38 1.jpg

When we’re hungry, we have little to no patience, an emotion sometimes referred to as hangry. An off the shoulder remark might be that the food is always worth the wait. But how about five hours to wait for the food of your dreams?

Combining the variety of rich flavours found in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and Palestine, CERU take our customers on a journey across the Middle East in our South Kensington and Soho restaurants, taking food from the sun-drenched shores of the region and putting their own twist on them. One such dish is the Lamb Shoulder. 

The roasting joint is a staple in Levantine culture, with lamb being the centre of hundreds of dishes. And who can blame them – lamb, especially from CERU, is super tender and savoury, falling off the bone with incredible ease.

The CERU philosophy on lamb is simple: slow-roast lamb shoulder for five hours in a secret (shh!) blend of 12 Shawarma spices, topped with pomegranate, fresh mint, and pistachio sauce.

This is one meal that is always the wait. But thankfully, CERU has the roasting on all day, so you won’t have to actually wait for 5 hours. 

Elina Linina
Three chefs from the mountains of Lebanon at CERU Soho

Past event


The CERU team, including founder Barry Hilton, are embarking on a trip to Lebanon as part of an exciting collaboration with Tawlet restaurant in Beirut. We’ll also be touring other parts of the Country to meet and cook with local artisan food and wine producers.

Following the trip, we have invited the wonderful chefs from Tawlet back to our Soho restaurant to create their own traditional dishes from the mountain villages.

These home cooks are bringing authentic Lebanese food to Soho
Evening Standard →
Ceru Admin