7 things to look for in an authentic Middle Eastern restaurant

Jeru is an authentic Middle Eastern restaurant in Mayfair with a twist. Here are seven things to look for in any traditional Middle Eastern restaurant. 

London perches at the heart of international cuisine, offering visitors and locals alike a global menu every day of the week. As such, there’s no shortage of Middle Eastern restaurants in London, but the question of authenticity lingers. 

After all, what makes a Middle Eastern restaurant authentic? There is no singular definition of Middle Eastern food, let alone a universally agreed-upon recipe for shish barak.

What there is, however, is a number of special touches that you’ll find in just about any Middle Eastern restaurant in London – and across the world. 

Mezze dishes 

Mezze dishes are as central in Middle Eastern cuisine as the Big Ben is to the London skyline. 

Mezze dishes involve a sparkling variety of both hot and cold dishes, each just big enough for a couple of bites per person, each featuring some of the most delectable flavours, textures, and aromas embodied by Middle Eastern cuisine. 

You might find anything from fried halloumi and shish barak dumplings to grilled kingfish and samke harra – you certainly will at Jeru – but the menu can change and evolve with the seasons as much as it can shift with the sentiments of the chef. These dishes are a celebration of Middle Eastern food, and are essential as a starter course to warm up to your mains, although can be part of a multi-course meal.

Friendly wait staff

Middle Eastern culture is one of kindness, of being welcoming to others, and treating everyone like family, especially when it comes to sharing a meal together. 

Any genuine Middle Eastern restaurant will make you feel welcome and at home anywhere in the world, and the wait staff will always be more than happy to explain new terms on the menu, make recommendations, and help ensure your meal exceeds expectations from the first bite to the last.

Middle Eastern twists on your favourite drinks 

Any great London wine bar or restaurant knows that when it comes to cocktails, everyone has their favourites. Truly great mixologists can take those favourites and twist them in new and interesting ways – or in this instance, in classic Middle Eastern fashion. 

For example, many whisky lovers will opt for an Old Fashioned. At Jeru, we invite you to try a Tamarind Old Fashioned, a traditional drink with a classic fusion of sweet and sour fruit that elevates this cocktail beyond classic and into the realms of magical.  

In many Middle Eastern restaurants, you may also find Arak, a classic distilled spirit in the Anise family that’s extremely popular across the Levant.

Sharing style dining 

Sharing the experience of enjoying a meal together is such a staple part of Middle Eastern culture that it permeates through restaurant menus and design. 

Mezze plates are just one example of the shared experience of dining together. Each deciding on which dishes you’d most like to try, and going on the journey of discovering them together, from taking a bite to sharing your thoughts and favourites. 

You’ll also find the sense of shared dining experiences mirrored throughout Middle Eastern restaurants, from circular tables and bench-style seats, to intimate dining spaces where you can come together with friends and family for the experience. 

Arabic coffee

Arabic coffee is commonplace when receiving guests in the Middle East, and it sits a world apart from the milky lattes and cappuccinos of the west. 

This dark, bitter drink is brewed from Arabica beans, and served in a small decorative cup. Traditionalists will drink it without sugar or other flavourings (and certainly no milk), but the uninitiated may prefer a healthy serving of sugar to balance the bitter notes of the coffee beans. And in some establishments, cardamom is added for something extra special.

A head chef that’s passionate about tradition and history 

Chef Roy Ner

Authenticity in the food and the experience grows from authenticity in the head chef. Whether they’ve grown up in a Middle Eastern home learning the traditions and techniques passed down through the centuries, or fallen in love with the cuisine and the traditions later in life, this passion for the dining experience is essential. 

At Jeru, Chef Roy Ner leads the team with passion, inspiration, and experimentation. His North African and Israeli roots combined with his Cordon Bleu training and years of experience offer the perfect recipe for a chef that’s truly passionate about authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. 

Not only does Chef Roy Ner incorporate time-honoured techniques in the kitchen, he infuses them with modern ingredients and culinary styles to share stories of culture, food, and people. 

That’s a passion shared by his dedicated team, and one that’s the lifeblood of any Middle Eastern restaurant. 

Heart-warming food 

No matter the exact menu, the décor, the drinks, or the location in the world, any Middle Eastern restaurant will fervently seek to ensure every dish is heart-warming. Every bite should fill you up with that feeling of warmth and happiness that comes with filling, hearty food. 

Although the level of sophistication between dishes can vary greatly between fine dining restaurants in Mayfair such as Jeru, or fast takeaway meals that can be found across London, any Middle Eastern dining experience should leave you feeling much more than simply satiated – contented, relaxed, and warm from the inside out. 

Make a booking at Jeru to experience Middle Eastern cuisine at its best 

Jeru is one of Mayfair’s newest dining establishments, and one where you can discover Middle Eastern cuisine with a modern twist. Our passion for the food, the history, and the culture of the Levant shines through every aspect of the restaurant, and we can’t wait to share that with you. 

Book your table at Jeru today to experience Middle Eastern dining at its best.

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Monday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Sunday: Closed

Monday – Wednesday: 5:30pm – 12:00am
Thursday – Saturday: 5:30pm – 01:00am
Sunday: Closed

(Kitchen closes 1 hour and 30 minutes before closing time for dinner)

Jeru Address

11 Berkeley St, London W1J 8DS, United Kingdom
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