Barry Hilton, fthe former operations director at Yalla Yalla and Black & Blue, is to launch a new Mediterranean/Middle Eastern concept called Ceru, M&C Report understands.

Hilton has launched an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) to raise the funding to enable him to open the first three sites under the new format in London.

M&C Report understands that Stephen Gee, chairman of Carluccio’s and Busaba Eathai, is one of the initial backers in the project that hopes to open its first site before the end of the year.

Hilton is seeking units of 2,000sq ft for the new venture, which will be aimed at the fast casual market with a price point of c£11-£12.

Ceru was launched as a pop-up earlier this year at Henley Regatta and is set to appear at the Gay Pride festival in Brighton and the Richmond Festival later this summer.

It is also in talks to operate a pop-up site at a location in London.