Cérès fits right in to Newington Green. It’s a warm, welcoming, modern European restaurant that looks like one of those posh living rooms you can sometimes see through the window of the area’s many terraced houses. A small space, it has a bright orange wall at one end, lots of homely wooden dining furniture, a bar stacked with wine bottles, and dried flowers hanging off the front window.
The seasonal menu was heavy with southern European cuisine (Spanish, Turkish, Mediterranean were just a few), and everything was obviously cooked with love. Lots of fresh, interesting ingredients made an appearance on the menu, and a couple of dishes really wowed: a bowl of vibrant strawberry sorbet with crispy caramelised peanuts and a fruity, addictive melon jam; and a starter of crispy, salty tempura samphire with tangy black garlic sauce. Of the main courses, we enjoyed the thick, meaty, pan-fried hake, which fell apart at the touch, but other dishes, sadly, fell flat: the ‘mushroom ceviche’ was more like an ordinary salad, and while the gazpacho was fresh and light, it lacked depth.
I liked Cérès for its quaint, laidback nature and menu reminiscent of a European holiday. It won’t disappoint for a weeknight dinner – and was packed with locals on our Tuesday night visit – but for a special occasion? I would try somewhere with a touch more finesse.