Pared down, industrial style décor belies a passionate beating heart at this pop up restaurant, Carousel. The warehouse vibe lends itself to the chameleon nature of this space – it is what you make it – with its temporary bar, long wooden tables made from reclaimed wood simply made for topping with sharing platters and monochrome light bulbs dangle low above your head. It’s part of a creative space designed to house a rotating roster of artists and chefs, and its experimental energy is palpable. Get involved.
Dining at Carousel was like taking a trip to Turkish Cyprus without having to leave W1. We managed to sneak in during Selin Kiazim’s reign behind the burner and boy was it delightful. We started with a cocktail and chose a lovely bottle of white to share for the meal. House baked bread with Medjool date butter was divine beginnings and it just got better as the journey progressed. A whole lemon sole to share between us was served with charred shallot, parsley and pomegranate dressing – a true thing of beauty. The pearl barley, kale, sour cherries, yoghurt, chilli butter and pecorino was revelatory. Selin’s run is now finished but from now until Christmas you can look forward to cooking by Ollie Templeton (formerly of Moro) and Max Pasetti (formerly of Bocca di Lupo and Trullo) and then from 13th January onwards, you’ll be in the green-fingered hands of Scando-weigans, Henrik Noren and Magnus Villnow.
Arrive an hour or so before your reservation allowing time for an aperitif and a good look around the exhibition downstairs, entitled ‘Red Door Yonder,’ featuring work by artists Peter Templeton and Tony Smith, among others. This particular exhibition runs until March 2015. Appetites sufficiently whetted, amble back upstairs and commence the dining experience. If your meal is anything like ours, there will be plenty of conversation points and the delight will come in waves. The weather outside may be frightful but inside it’s all about the good food, good wine and convivial atmosphere. Book a late table at nearby Purl for a late night whiskey cocktail to round the night off. Approach the evening with an open mind, take an adventurous date and let the merry-go-round whisk you away.
You will probably be sat facing your date, as is the norm here at Carousel, so be warned – if dining in close proximity with others is not your idea of a good time then perhaps re-think the venue.
2. Intellectually stimulating yes, super sexy no.