Carousel restaurant, Marylebone
Up-and-coming Marylebone spot Carousel has had some fine chefs through its doors in recent months. Sebastian Mazzola, Murray Wilson and more have taken up residence in the Carousel kitchen since the turn of the year, a veritable... well, carousel of top culinary talent from across the UK and Europe.
Ollie Templeton, Carousel
For their May residency, however, the team have looked a little closer to home – so close, in fact, that it's one of their very own. And he certainly deserves a run in the spotlight as he's one of the best we've tried at Carousel so far.
Ollie Templeton – one of the four cousins behind the Carousel concept – has been curating, facilitating and supporting their rotating line-up since it began at the end of 2014, but from 2 May he's getting the chance to take centre stage himself.
On the menu
Drawing heavily on his childhood years growing up in Andalusia, as well as an undoubtedly formative period as sous chef at the acclaimed Moro (where he might just have run into Tom Ryalls, another of Carousel's recent residents), Ollie brings us four courses of fresh, springtime Spanish cuisine.
The grilled peas with sorrel, labneh and bottarga make for an excellent and sophisticated amuse bouche, followed by a starter sea trout with chopped asparagus, aliñidas and green peppers – filling and slightly on the salty side, but fish-lovers won't complain. Then comes an optional mid-course of melt-in-your-mouth confit pork belly with wild garlic ajo blanco and grilled red chilli – definitely worth forking up the extra £8.50 for as its one of the best dishes on Ollie's superbly balanced menu.
For the main, he brings diners succulent but filling course of swaledale lamb with grilled onions accompanied by new season's garlic and herbs. And, if you've still got room, there's a delectable offering of milk ice cream with rice pudding, rhubarb and strawberry – innovatively adorned with pink peppercorn and pistachio.
Each dish is interesting and unique – Templeton shows his mastery of seasoning with delicately balanced herbs. The five course spread will leave you feeling comfortably full and the dishes are beautifully crafted – we'd just recommend you show up hungry as there's plenty of food on offer.
Carousel's rotating service means you can expect to wait a little while between courses, but they are constantly improving and the dishes are certainly worth the wait. We'd recommend booking with a group, as Carousel's relaxed atmosphere and long tables are conducive to intimate dining among friends.
Lunch sittings are offered as one- or two-course, and those arriving early for dinner (doors open from 7pm) can even bide their time with a la plancha bar snacks in the garden. Expect to be there for at least two hours as service is staggered. Our tip: show up at 8 instead of 7 to avoid a wait.
|What||Ollie Templeton, Carousel|
|Where||Carousel, 71 Blandford St, London , W1U 8AB | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Marylebone (underground)|
05 May 15 – 30 May 15, Tuesday – Saturday every week, May 5th – 30th
|Price||£9.50/£16.50 lunch; £35 dinner|