Jeru is a Middle Eastern restaurant from Israeli-born Australian chef Roy Ner. The restaurant opened in December 2021 and marks Ner’s first outpost in the UK.
As we made our way to the venue, we knew that we were in for a high-end experience given its glam Berkeley Street address in London’s Mayfair neighbourhood. Our predictions were confirmed upon arrival, when we were greeted by the suave fedora-wearing Alex Barchman, whose side-hustle is modelling for Giorgio Armani.
Jeru’s facade nods to its Middle Eastern influences, with a heavy Moorish-style carved wooden door and stone walls, while interiors are characterised by terracotta walls and an earthy colour palate brightened by lush greenery – including a herb-like chandelier suspended above the stairs to the basement space.
It feels very open plan thanks to its architectural design, which swaps doors for softer arched doorways and windows. The first space features a 1,000-bottle wine wall, housing labels from Levant producers along with New World wines, and doubles as a sophisticated private dining room. It’s a fitting space for entertaining clients and colleagues, if you have the budget, with art-deco style chandeliers overhead.
This leads into the main room, a long rectangular space with banquette seating facing an entertaining open kitchen, where charcoal fires ignite ingredients and glass fridges display charcuterie and meats.
Cocktail bar Layla is located downstairs and opens up into a sunken lounge space. We’re told that this becomes a nightlife venue on Fridays and Saturdays with live DJ sets and Middle Eastern cocktails. The spacious bathrooms are also located on this level, hidden behind large heavy doors and decked in brass fittings with water features, teal tiles and patterned flooring.
Fashionable front-of-house staff took our coats and accompanied us to our table in the main room. It was quiet when we arrived at 7pm on a Thursday evening and so the room felt a little overstaffed, with five or six waiters ready to pounce on the few occupied tables. It became apparent why an hour later, when the room reached full capacity.
Food and drink
The restaurant specialises in Middle Eastern plates and offers both an à la carte menu and two chef’s selection menus for meat eaters and vegetarians. The set menus are preferable for showcasing the kitchen’s talents, and we enjoyed a hybrid of the two as there is no version for pescatarians. It does seem slightly odd, however, that both are the same price when meat tends to be a more expensive ingredient.
The ethos is one of sharing and the set menu is split into three sections, with beautiful Jeru-branded stoneware plates getting a little larger as you go on.
We started off on a high with the restaurant’s signature sourdough, a gorgeous light and pillowy bread that is delicious on its own but magical – or as we overhead from our neighbouring table “just ridiculous” – when lathered with the accompanying miso butter and truffle honey.
This arrived with a ceviche-style cured yellowtail kingfish with date, ginger, persimmon and lime leaves, though we preferred the complex flavours of the citrus-packed dry-aged tuna with smoked labneh, tamarind and orange dressing and kumquats.
The second course switches to hot food. Snack-style fried halloumi doughnuts are accompanied by a goat’s curd, which cuts through the saltiness of the Cypriot cheese, and our favourite dish of the night was the hasselback Jerusalem artichokes with a creamy goat whey (perfect for double-dipping), anchovies and roe. A colourful layered courgette salad was a great palate cleanser for the next course.
We were getting very full by this point but couldn’t pass on the larger plates. The roast monkfish arrived on a bed of sautéed spinach, drizzled with a béarnaise sauce which is fitting given its meaty texture, alongside delicious sides of charcoal roasted aubergine with macadamia salsa and wild rice, and gratin-style potato matchsticks.
The set menus conclude with sweet bites, which sound like they will be similar to petit fours but are actually full-sized desserts. Thankfully, the coffee crème brûlée was both light and punchy, with a caffeine kick waking us from our digestion slumber, and we also enjoyed the refreshing mandarin and lychee sorbet.
The chef often comes out to greet tables and explain his creations, and sommelier Valentino is on-hand to provide excellent wine pairing recommendations from the extensive list – we enjoyed the 2018 Eruzione Bianco 1614 Carricante, a white wine from Sicily with notes of grapefruit and melon.
The short but sweet cocktail list also features Middle Eastern versions of classics – we loved the Za’faran, a take on the classic margarita with (you guessed it) saffron.
The fairly loud music meant that my preference for white wine was mistaken for red (though this was quickly rectified), and it was sometimes difficult to hear the staff describe dishes. Nonetheless, the staff are very friendly and clearly very well trained, with a CV that reads as a guide to London’s top restaurants, including Roka, Zuma and Hutong at The Shard.
Jeru is a wonderful addition to the Mayfair scene, with carefully crafted and colourful Middle Eastern dishes, attentive service and fashionable interiors. As we left, we noticed that the entrance doubles as the restaurant’s recently-opened bakery during the day, which judging by its fantastic bread, is worth a visit. We look forward to trying it in the near future, as well as the Layla bar after dark.
Open Tuesday-Thursday 5.30pm-11.30pm; Friday-Saturday 5.30pm-1am.
Four-course set menus £69
À la carte mezze £15-25; mains £32-58
11 Berkeley Street, Mayfair; 0203 988 0054; jeru.co.uk