Jeru is the first UK restaurant from famed Israeli-born, Australian chef, Roy Ner (ex-Nour). The venue first opened in December 2021 and offers Middle East-inspired fine dining in the heart of London’s Mayfair. We venture into town to check what Jeru has in store for would-be diners.
Jeru – The vision
Jeru has secured its position within the coveted Mayfair postcode, on the upmarket Berkeley Street, where it rubs shoulders with fellow high-end dining hotspots such as Sexy Fish, Benares, Hakkasan, and Novikov. The name itself is a Byzantine word meaning ‘old city’. Historic Jeru was a place of tribal nomads where many different cultures collided to form a true melting pot of people, traditions, and – of course – flavours. This concept of exploration, discovery, and fusion is what Chef Ner has drawn from in his inspiration for Jeru.
The venue is split across two levels with an all-day bakery on the first floor, wafting the intoxicating aroma of freshly baked bread into the street, enticing passersby to pop their heads in for a look-see. Once ensnared, patrons are led through an arched doorway, passed a wall of wine coolers to the main restaurant. Here, the finest British produce shares the table with producers from around the world. Chef Ner is also working with the finest charcuterie experts in the UK to create unique menu items that haven’t been seen before in the UK; Angus rump basturma and lamb and fennel salami are on offer, alongside the first lamb bacon in collaboration with Hammond Charcuterie, with more artisan speciality meats coming soon.
Downstairs is Layla – a sophisticated cocktail bar with lush banquette seating serving fine wines and spirits, and boasting a high-end specialty cocktail menu employing flavours from the Middle East. Layla overlooks a chic sunken lounge that will transform into a high energy dining concept at night. This will feature a rotation of DJs accompanied by live percussion and saxophones to provide a new addition to Mayfair’s social scene.
Arrival & Decor
Even in the dim evening light, Jeru is immediately recognisable as the latest arrival to the gastronomic street. An imposing, Moorish style arched door is inset into a stone facade, flanked by well-dressed and welcoming doormen. Windows continue the arched motif, with shining screens of Islamic geometry designs partially obscuring the interior space from view. The burnished brass restaurant sign is spotlit from above, casting long shadows over the stone.
We enter through the weighty door and walk across the tiled floor to the welcome desk, where four smiling hostesses are stationed. We’re genuinely shocked by their appointed uniform – tailored wine-red suits, open at the chest with nothing but company policy, lacy black lingerie underneath. We’re not usually ones to dwell on uniforms – and certainly not on the looks of staff – but jeez! Where are we? 1980s Playboy Club Beirut?! Don’t get us wrong – it’s an amazing outfit and one we’d happily wear out on the town by choice, but there’s something deeply unsettling about it being the prescribed uniform for women in a high-end London restaurant in 2022. Add to that the fact that all the hostesses are thin, model-esque types with the same style straight hair pulled back into high ponytails, we can’t help but wonder what was in the job description for the hostess vacancies – were measurements required alongside application?! A very, very odd choice indeed.
As we attempt to compose our flustered brains, one friendly hostess walks us through an arched doorway, past a ‘wine room’ that doubles as a private dining option. A custom made 1,000 bottle wine wall houses the finest wines from an impressive array of sources, from the first producers in Phoenicia and Georgia, through to modern day New World wines.
The main space is beautiful: a long room fringed with banquette seating facing an open kitchen, with countertop dining stretching along it. Jars filled with amazing looking pickles line a shelf above the counter, showcasing Chef Ner’s passion for fermentation, whilst sets of glass-fronted fridges hem in the kitchen and display the phenomenal meats and seafood that the kitchen is working with. Walls are delicately mottled, alluding to the blush plaster of old Middle Eastern buildings; arched cut outs filled with uplit object d’art break up the space, adding the perception of windows in this underground space. These, coupled with the warm glow from carefully placed light features, gives the cave-like space a romantic, secretive atmosphere.
Dinner – Chef’s Selection Menu
We take our seat on the light brown leather banquette, relaxing back into the scatter cushions and casting our eye over the Chef’s Selection Menu*. Everything sounds astounding. As our mouths begin to water, our lovely server, Seraphine, offers us a cocktail. We elect to try the Eye of Providence (£18), which soon arrives and shows itself to be a mezcal and whiskey old fashioned, fat-washed with black sesame for an elegantly unctuous mouthfeel.
As we sip away, enjoying the sesame’s background nuttiness playing with the earthy agave notes and Jameson’s honeyed sweetness, our first course of Cured Yellowtail Kingfish, date, ginger, persimmon, lime leaves arrives. Drizzled with date sauce, the thin strips of fish are laid out, topped with a sliver of dried ginger, fish roe, and a blade of lime leaf. Gorgeously fresh citrus combines with a delicate earthy spice and sticky date sweetness. The meatiness of the lightly cured fish provides a supple base for the tart and sweet components to dance upon. Fresh and delicate, it’s the perfect opener to what promises to be an impressive meal.
Potato Fermented Wood-Fire Bread, truffle honey, lamb pancetta and ‘Tarbes Farm’ Angus Rump Basturma, are next, served with a small dish of crunchy pickled vegetables. The fragrance of the bread hits us immediately, and we rush to tear off a fluffy morsel, draped in melting lamb pancetta and drenched in oil and truffle honey. Pillowy and gently singed with mouth-coating sweetness and salty fat – it is out of this world. Paired with the flavorsome beef and lightly sharp pickle, it is a match made in heaven and something we would happily devour on a daily basis (and if this is an option at the bakery upstairs, we might just have to).
As we expound the many virtues of the bread amongst ourselves, Valentino siddles up to the table, sporting that tell-tale lapel pin denoting a sommelier. He offers us the wine list – a well-articulated affair filled with liquid from all across the globe, with deference given to France, Italy, America, and Australia. We select Pikes Eastside Shiraz 2017 (£62) – a full-bodied red bursting with baked dark fruits and barrel spice with a supportive structure – from a family-operated producer in Australia’s famed Clare Valley. The thick juiciness is held in check by grippy tannins, providing a delicious accompaniment to the rest of our meal.
Hasselback Jerusalem Artichokes are the next delight to arrive: amazingly crispy on the outside whilst remaining tender within. The accompanying goat whey is creamy and light, with anchovies sparingly added to introduce the perfect levels of salt and umami, and complete the dish. Fried Halloumi Doughnuts, goats curd are a moreish treat but a tad oversweet for us. By contrast, the Dry-aged Kingfish, Nablus tahini, fermented chickpea, Old City bisque is perfection. Cuts of firm kingfish sit in a creamy, lightly sour chickpea and tahini puree, and are dressed in a supercharged bisque.
Already starting to feel full, we take a quick glance at the menu and realise that we’ve got some way to go. Delighted at our foresight to not wear tight trousers, we greet our next set of dishes with gusto and determination. Each is rich in its own way, and all faultless. A “phwoar”-inducing cut of Bone Marrow is laced with an astounding miso glaze, where sweetness, umami, light fermentation, and flame charr work together to subdue the marrow’s innately full-on fattiness. This works beautifully smeared over the Crispy Gratin Potatoes. Meaty Roasted Aubergine, macadamia salsa, mint tahini is profoundly nutty with the lightly minted tahini adding freshness without overpowering the dish with menthol. The Roast Monkfish Steak, lemon verbena béarnaise is another wonder with the light freshness of the sauce and wilted spinach preventing our palates from getting too weighed down. By the time we get to the Short Rib ‘Creek Stone Farm’ MB4 + Muhammara trimming salsa, we’re only able to manage a few mouthfuls, however those we do have are worth the stretching of our waistline, the heady cut of beef delighting alongside the sweet, lightly smoky roasted pepper and walnut salsa.
Nearing defeat but deliriously happy with all we’ve sampled, Seraphine returns with our Sweet Bites (although ‘bites’ is a somewhat deceptive word for these sizable morsels). A thick block of chocolate, filled with nuts and crispy grain puffs, is accompanied by black aubergine ice cream. The ice cream is uber soft and light, with roasted sweetness that slightly recalls soy sauce ice cream (or salted caramel for those who haven’t tried that). The block itself is full on – something we’d happily enjoy with a strong tea during the afternoon, but which we can’t quite manage after our opulent feast. A plate of sliced strawberry with another super light goats cheese ice cream finishes the menu. This is too sweet for us, recalling bubblegum, perhaps due to the addition of orange blossom, however it does help to put a lid on a decadent evening.
As we roll out of the building, blinkering ourselves to the hostess desk, we are beyond sated. Chef Ner and his team have partnered with Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group to present a warm and intimate venue where time stands still and all the world’s worries slip away in favour of flavour. Every dish we had the pleasure of tasting was beautifully crafted, with balance, texture, and presentation evident throughout. The service was welcoming and the atmosphere relaxed, making Jeru a solid contender on the Mayfair gastro-scene.
*Note on Chef’s Selection Menu – our menu was slightly different to a regular Chef’s Selection as we were there for a review and needed to sample more dishes. The below pricing is for regular Chef’s Selections (full menus available here)
Prices for A La Carte nibbles & starters range from £4 to £20, with mains from £15 to £58. Full menu here.
Chef’s Selection Menus are priced at £69. Full menu here.
Jeru, 11 Berkeley Street, London, W1J 8DS