Carousel London: Where no two days are the same inploi Team | 01.11.2017
Situated just off Baker Street, Carousel is not your typical London restaurant. Established by four cousins, the restaurant and event space draws upon the talents of its founders. We caught up with Lily – a member of Carousel’s Front of House team, to find out more about this intriguing place and to gain a little insight into the lives of those who work there.
When she moved to London just over a year ago, Lily was seeking a working environment that gave her the flexibility to pursue her career as an actor. An innately creative space, the team at Carousel were happy to take her on, able to give her the time out where required to undertake her acting roles. “I can go away and come back and I always know I have a job here.” Lily says. “A lot of people here are in creative industries as well and they just accept that.”
Carousel is made of up two buildings, split over five floors – the restaurant (which has separate upstairs and downstairs area used for a whole roster of events, from conferences and delegate days through to hen parties, launch events, wine tasting nights and birthday parties), and a larger venue just down the road, lending itself to longer-term outlets, such as outsourced pop-up shops and galleries.
The restaurant, where Lily is largely based is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Although it has a permanent kitchen and front of house team, the name Carousel really is the primary clue for what makes this restaurant unique. “It’s literally like a Carousel!” Lily explains. “Every 2-3 weeks we have a different chef. We get chefs from all over the world, and they come in with a whole new concept.” It’s a great place for chefs to test their skill and knowledge of food from all sorts of culinary backgrounds. Each guest chef joins their brigade solo, co-creating a four or five course meal for Carousel’s guests to enjoy. It’s equally amazing for the front of house, who, each Tuesday get to sample the entire menu before it’s served to guests that day.
No two menus are the same, with food and drink being perfectly paired by the Carousel team; working closely with the resident chef. Whether it’s wine brought in from a small producer in Portugal, sake from Japan or especially created cocktails, the team are consistently met with new culinary challenges and get to learn something new with each guest chef. “When I first started here, I knew nothing about wine!” Lily confides. Although now, one year on, her perception of her wine and spirit knowledge has certainly changed!
With each new chef also comes a whole new clientele. Although Carousel has its regulars, who love the restaurant’s easy-going feel and are eager to see what each chef brings to the table, guest chefs’ differing styles naturally attract alternative crowds. Guests are asked to arrive at the same time, and are sat at long communal tables. “When I first started, I remember Matt saying, ‘it’s like a dinner party - and we’re the hosts of the party’. Lily recalls. “It’s funny as well, because occasionally if someone comes alone we always put them in the middle of the table, and within 10 minutes they’re talking to everyone!”. This incredible communal dining feel is unique in London, but the dining vibe also changes week to week. “One week you might have a fine-dining, French chef with small plates. And the next week you’ll have a Lebanese feast, where everybody’s tearing bread together. It’s really cool.” Lily says.
With so many incredible chefs walking the boards at Carousel, you would think it hard to pinpoint a favourite meal, but Lily is hot off the mark. “Last week we had Tom Brown. He did a fish menu. Everything was so simple but amazing quality food. And there was an American chef called Alex McCoy. He did super spicy authentic Thai food. And it was blow-your-head-off spicy, but it was the most amazing flavours! I think that was favourite.”
Carousel is an amazing hub for social, creative foodies. People who love meeting new people, are passionate about great food and wine, and creating truly memorable experiences. All four founding cousins continue to play a hands-on role in the business, working at Carousel every day. “The sense of community here-,” Lily comments, “-I think it’s really hard to find something where you genuinely care about a place and you care what happens to it. Everyone here really does, and we care about each other, and it’s really special.”
The team sit together before every service, feasting on a dinner “you would not imagine”. Working at Carousel is about more than rocking up to work, it’s about being enthusiastic, getting stuck-in, making friends, and giving guests the ultimate dining experience. “I think you have to be a kind, bubbly person. And embrace change,” Lily adds with a laugh, “because nothing’s the same here!”
Apply to join the team at Carousel today! – Check out their latest opportunities by visiting the Carousel company page here.