Jun 19 2015

Carousel

Carousel is such a great restaurant and considering it is so close to where I live, I am really surprised I had not been there before and would not have found out about it probably for a while had I not been invited here by friends for dinner. Carousel is a three floor space in Marylebone that invites guest chefs to cook for around 2 weeks. Each 2 weeks they have chefs from around the world bringing their own cooking style to Carousel. Because of this it is hard for me to give it a ranking, as the menu would change so frequently, but I love the concept and I loved the dinner I had at Carousel.

Carousel was set up by 4 cousins who love food, and in their Marylebone location they have a ground floor dining area, a garden where you can have drinks, which I did not see, a basement for banquets and other events and a third floor space for film screenings and intimate gatherings. Carousel works closely with the resident chefs to make sure that no matter who is cooking, the Carousel personality is still there. You need to book and pay in advance. We paid £37 (excluding drinks) for our 6 course set menu which was cooked by Leo Carreira. Doors open at 7pm and there is only one seating that starts at 7.30pm.

The dining room is casual with wooden tables, some communal and there is a bar on one side of the room and a kitchen on another where you can watch the chefs cook. Leo Carreira who cooked for us this night has worked for Michelin starred Viajante and Mugaritz restaurants and has spent time in the Basque country, and this experience has created his menu which had unusual ingredients and combinations of flavours. Apparently Nuno Mendes is a fan. Unfortunately he was here from the 2nd to 13th June, so you can’t try his food anymore, but Carousel has equally exciting chefs and at the moment Omar Romeiro is cooking at Carousel combining Asian street food and his native Mexican cooking.

Leo Carreira’s meal started with 2 small snacks – “fresh goats cheese and thyme oil” and “fried cockle juices, lemon and honey emulsion”. I thought the fresh goats cheese and thyme oil was a nice and refreshing way how to start the meal, but what got everyone really excited was the fried cockle juices dish. You almost could not believe it was fried cockle juices when the waitress brought you this nice and small plate of what looked like some sort of crisps. We kept asking again and again what this dish was as we thought we had misheard her when she said it was fried cockle juices. It had a lovely light and slightly salty/ savoury flavour, I really enjoyed it.

The next dish was “Charred Leeks, Mussel Escabeche”, and usually when I hear leeks I am not too keen, but here the leek was so soft and did not actually taste like a leek, it was rather delicious. A fish course followed – “sea trout, mushroom pistachio caramel, sweet chard”, a very simple dish with only 3 things on the plate, but beautiful in its simplicity and the sea trout was lovely. The meat main course was “grilled lamb, beetroot”, and once again I was surprised about how the beetroot tasted and it tasted differently to what you would expect, Leo Carreira seems to have great skill in making simple ingredients taste elaborate. My fiancé thought the lamb was a bit chewy, but what I liked was that when we finished the lamb, the waitress came by with a huge plate of more lamb and offered us more in case we wanted it.

The dessert was “tonka bean ice cream, sorrel oil and quinoa”, another dish I loved and found the quinoa in there different to what I would expect to taste. The dessert had a nice and fresh flavour with so many different taste elements hitting you all at once, delicious, and not heavy at all.

I did not think the meal was expensive for all the interesting dishes you had, and I will definitely be back to try the food of the exciting chefs that reside here. I am very tempted to go back for Omar Romeiro’s menu, as that sounds very interesting. Love the concept, love the food, love the price.

Price: £37 per person for food + drinks
Date: 04/ 06/ 15
Location: Marylebone

Maija rated: 

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Location: 

Carousel
71 Blandford Street W1U 8AB
London
United Kingdom
Carousel Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 0