​This former pop-up has just opened a second permanent home in the ultra-competitive foodie heart of Soho, at 11 D'Arblay Street.

Ceru is short for cerulean, the blazing shade of azure, which is a reference to the colour of the sea around the Levant, the region this restaurant celebrates. For the geographically challenged, its the coastline along Lebanon, Turkey, Israel and Palestine where the eastern Mediterranean meets the Middle East. Founded by seasoned restaurateur Barry Hilton, who is also behind Black & Blue and Yalla Yalla, the menu blends over 100 ingredients and more than 20 spices. On a hot day, with the restaurants AC on full blast, you could easily convince yourself you were somewhere other than central London.

Whats the deal? Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, diners can share three-to-four smaller dishes, or go for an Express Lunch Platter, which combines a salad, dip, main, side and toasted pita bread. Most dishes are between £4.50 and £10, but the platter is £9, making it great value and easy pickings if youre not sure what you fancy. Plus, if its not on the table in 20 minutes, its on the house. There is such a thing as a free lunch after all.

Whats included on the platter? There are two, the Street Platter and the Market Platter (which is all veggie). The main attraction of the former is heavily spiced (although not spicy) pulled lamb shoulder, very lemony cauliflower and a refreshing fadi dip (courgette, garlic, lemon, tahini). Our favourite was the Market Platter, with earthy courgette and feta fritters, with some warmth provided by houmous and chermoula-topped aubergine. Only the white bean and tomato salad was so-so; its worth asking if you can swap it out for the citrusy peach, feta and red onion salad, with its delicious dusting of pistachio, chilli and mint.

Any extras worth ordering? You could always carb-load with the polenta and feta fries, which arent fries at all, but chunky, eerily rectangular doorstops served with a herby, yoghurty dip, before tackling Cerus own craft pilsner and three-grain pale ale brews. The latter is both gluten-free and vegan, and more importantly, its pretty nice too.

Room for dessert? Apart from the customary baklava, the puddings are largely French and Italian with a pistachio crumble here and a sultana topping there. Ice cream is locally sourced from a Bermondsey dealer, and comes with a Levantine scattering of berries and nuts. They also make an appearance at the top and the bottom of a chocolate mousse thats small, but terribly rich. Feeling full? Go for a sweet Turkish apple tea thats spiked with Morgans Spiced rum instead.

Anything else? Before you get apoplectic about them charging £1 for tap water, its BRITA-filtered and the money goes to Sir David Attenboroughs wildlife conservation charity World Land Trust. You cant get angry at Sir David now, can you?

Need to book? Yes, a lot of walk-ins meant it was even busy on a Monday. Call 020 3195 3002 or email [email protected]. The other site is on Bute Street in Kensington.

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