Carrots, carrots, carrots, Oswaldo Oliva at Carousel

Oswaldo Oliva at Carousel, Marylebone, dinner

Menu from a dinner at Carousel London where Oswaldo Oliva was the chef in residence:


Fossilised citrus and worm salt

Carrots, carrots, carrots


A sequence of herbs, pickles and dressings

Sesame praline in fragrant nage

Hake, kohl rhabi and pistachios

‘Blue’ steak, sour leaves and marrow butter

[Langoustines, chicken and basil emulsions]


Fresh cheese, strawberry and chamomile

Carousel, an events space in London, runs regular chef residencies in Marylebone.

Oswaldo Oliva, formerly head of the development kitchen at Mugaritz, took up one of these slots. Originally from Mexico and having worked at the notoriously quirky kitchens of Mugaritz, Oliva wanted to share something of his home country while bringing forth that same quirkiness.

If you’ve been to Mugaritz, you will know that the presentation of a place is not always straight forwards. It’s not always the aesthetically pleasing plates that you see on Michelin-starred menus. However, it does always promise to intrigue.

In this case, there were plenty of unusual treatments of ingredients, like the fossilised citrus that started my meal.

Like at Mugaritz, the flavours are divisive. The sesame praline in the seafood nage was incredible but the carrots dish was a little more obscure.

Still, I’m excited about the things that might appear on the menu at Oliva’s own restaurant, once it opens.

Qin Xie

Qin Xie is a London based food, wine and travel journalist and trained chef.

When not infiltrating Michelin restaurants as a kitchen tourist, she writes about food, drink and travel. Her work has appeared on Yahoo, FT, The Times and CNN.

Her first cookbook, co-authored with YS Peng at Hunan Restaurant, is out March 2014.

According to friends, her watch is always set to UTC -- ready for the next big adventure. In reality, she is happiest at the dinner table or by the sea.

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