Find out how Carousel is becoming Marylebone's most artistic fine dining destination
The restaurant combines chef residences, art exhibitions and events to create a Bohemian fine dining experience
Over the course of the last five years, London’s fine dining scene has had something of a shake up. Food halls, pop-ups, chef residencies, and zero waste menus have swept across the capital, and, increasingly, these waves - not to mention the serious talent driving them - have made their way to the very highest echelons of the industry.
A restaurant at the very forefront of this dining revolution is Carousel. Split across two buildings and five floors, Carousel is more than a restaurant: it is home to a carefully curated programme of art exhibitions, events and rotating chef residencies offering adventurous Londoners the opportunity to experience dishes from big name chefs from across the globe.
My visit to Carousel fell on a wintry November evening during the ‘Fallow’ residency led by chef duo Jack Croft and Will Murray – who met on the vegetable station at two-Michelin star Dinner By Heston restaurant. The pair, like all chefs who grace the Carousel kitchen, developed a menu showcasing their modern flair with a core emphasis on British, seasonal ingredients and an ethos of sustainability.
The evening felt more like a cosy Marylebone supper club than a formal restaurant dining experience, with guests sharing a single menu at long, communal tables in a beautifully low-lit, design-forward dining room. An informal welcome from the chefs, including a brief introduction to the evening’s menu, set our taste-buds tingling and sparked an atmosphere of good cheer upon which the remainder of the evening rode. >>
Inventive, modern twists on simple ingredients set the tone for our menu, which began with a delicious selection of snacks showcasing ingredients that are traditionally wasted: canopy sourdough made from grain after it’s been brewed for beer at the local brewery; perfectly golden chicken scratchings; and beautiful ribs of corn served with a mouthwatering lime crema.
Next up: sardine with a watercress, fennel and dill reduction; then, melt-in-the-mouth lamb served in the South African ‘Soutribbetjie’ style with pickled cucumber; caramelised leek barely visible under a parmesan snow storm and served with an indulgent ‘cream’ made of its own roots; and to finish, and a slice of pumpkin pie so decadent that it’s a miracle the chefs didn’t have a roomful of Oliver Twists begging for more.
The next few months will see Carousel play host to a starry selection of international chefs, including Nuno Mendes, TJ Steele, Jesse Gerner, Hendrik Dierendonck, and Gabriele Rizzo, each bringing their oozing talent and flair to a select number of lucky diners. With its genre (re)defining menus and upcoming schedule of creative events - from pasta making evenings to wildlife drawing masterclasses to terrarium workshops - Carousel has firmly established itself as one of Marylebone’s most sought-after dining destinations, and surely its most imaginative.