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Review of Carousel

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Ranked #5,424 of 24,667 Restaurants in London
Certificate of Excellence
Neighbourhood: Marylebone
Restaurant details
Neighbourhood: Marylebone
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We had a taster menu that we applied for through Time Out. What a treat! Staff were lovely. Food was good. And plenty of it. Will surely be back. Nice relaxed atmosphere too.

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Thank Fashionista82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3 - 7 of 85 reviews

Reviewed 3 weeks ago

European tapas concept. The menu is a little pricey but we got a deal out of Timeout. I enjoyed every bite of food, all beautifully made with care. Order 3 dishes per person, otherwise you would be left hungry. The sourdough bread is the best I've tasted. Service is lovely. Try the turmeric tonic water, really refreshing.

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Thank Michelle M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Dinner on a Wednesday evening in June 2018, party of 4.

This review is for a meal by Cheek by Jowl’s Rishi Naleendra guest-cheffing at Carousel London. Carousel guest chefs select dishes reflecting the best of their restaurant’s menu, to be served at a set-menu dinner.

A modern Aussie fine-dining restaurant opened in early 2016, Cheek by Jowl received a Michelin star in the guide’s Singapore 2017 edition. The Cheek by Jowl team (Rishi and his wife Manuela Toniolo) were at Carousel London from 12-Jun-2018 to 23-Jun-2018.

Tickets for dinner were for £39.50 per head, and purchased in advance (it reduces food wastage). I managed to get tickets online for a day that suited everyone in our party of 4, and we arrived just after the appointed time of 19:30pm.

Seating at Carousel is at long communal tables, and every seat in the house, including barstools at the bar and some at a ledge-table along a wall, were taken. The restaurant has an open kitchen, allowing diners to watch the chefs prepare their meal.

Menu cards and a cocktails list were lying on the table, and the evening’s set menu was to be as follows:
• Oyster with smoked tomato
• Smoked mackerel with a green pea and cucumber sauce, garnished with burnt lemon powder
• Steak tartare with puffed grain, fermented chilli and smoked maple
• Optional extra course: Courgette flower with Sri Lankan mung beans and sunflower seeds (add £8.50; add £5 supplement for wine paired with this course)
• Lamb saddle with caramelised yoghurt, black bean and maitake mushroom
• Strawberry ice cream with black olives and rhubarb

The evening started with someone from Carousel London explaining the restaurant’s concept to the diners, and then introducing the guest chef. Rishi Naleendra then addressed the diners, recalling the story behind Cheek by Jowl.

Drinks orders were taken, and the feasting began. Everyone in our party decided to have the optional extra course, and my companions went for the paired wine with all the courses.

The oyster with smoked tomato has apparently been on Cheek by Jowl’s menu since the beginning of the restaurant. The oyster was fresh and the smoked tomato paired really well with it. One of our party doesn’t eat seafood, and was served cheese with smoked tomato, which he said was really good. The mackerel was OK – the texture and taste of the fish was good, and I really liked the pea and cucumber sauce, although I personally couldn’t taste the burnt lemon. The non-seafood eater in our party was served a beetroot dish whose presentation was a work of art! I don’t like steak tartare and would never order it. However, the one that Rishi Naleendra served that evening was AMAZING – the texture and the taste were perfect and everything just worked. The courgette flower was next, stuffed with mung beans and sunflower seeds, in place of the usual cheese. It might have been just a little out of place in a modern Australian menu, given how spicy the mung beans were, but it was really tasty.

At this point, a complimentary basket of brown bread and some butter were brought to the table, which I thought a little odd. Surely the bread could’ve been brought with the earlier courses!!

The saddle of lamb medallion was perfectly done and was a great choice for the final course before dessert. Someone – I can’t remember whether it was someone from our party or the one sitting next to ours – said it was the best lamb they’d ever had. That might have been the wine talking, but probably wasn’t very far from the truth. The dessert was slightly controversial – the inclusion of olives wasn’t universally well-received, although the strawberry and rhubarb were good.

I’m told that all of the wines, including the optional one with the optional courgette flower course but not the one served with the lamb, were quite disappointing (bad). The service was friendly, though I thought it was a little slow. This was probably because the restaurant was absolutely full.

The total came to £345.94, which we paid with credit cards. This included the additional course that we had, the paired wine, 3 bottles of water and a 12.5% service charge (levied on the total bill, including the amount that was already paid online). I wonder whether Carousel would levy a service charge for someone who didn’t have any of the optional extras, considering the ticket for the meal (costing £39.50) had been bought online and paid for in advance. Note that while American Express cards can be used to pay for the meal ticket online, the restaurant does not accept American Express!!

In summary, the food was tasty and the evening was memorable – despite all the bad wine. However, the service was a little slow and the restaurant unimpressive – it is an almost bare room with communal tables, an open kitchen and a bar at one end. However, if Carousel manages to continue bringing the great chefs they’ve brought thus far, I would visit again.

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8  Thank SidMehlwal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2018

Quite small eating area, with mainly shared tables & benches inside, which may not suit everyone. However, we did secure a table outside in the sunshine. Food is tasty & well presented, especially the home baked sourdough bread but quite expensive for what it was & a somewhat limited medu. Drinks are also on the pricey side - £4:50 for a small bottle of lager & £5.50 for a small glass of indifferent wine, but this is central London. Service was helpful & efficient.

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Thank HertsTimelord
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2018

The venue is ok, but I don't like having to share a table with strangers. However the biggest disappointment was the food, we went on the Gustu night with a Bolivian chef and the food uninspiring, the portions were small with big gaps between them. The wine was ok but the tasting menu looked poor value. The best bit - the bread - which was delicious, we ended up asking for a refill about 5 times to stave off the hunger. £40 was poor value in my view for this.

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1  Thank Alastair G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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