Split across three floors and a plant-filled courtyard, Carousel’s bright, industrial space is the perfect blank canvas for its constant evolution. Upstairs, meanwhile, plays host to everything from calligraphy and terrarium-making classes to pottery and reflexology workshops; the adjacent gallery space showcases works from innovative artists from around the world. In the kitchen, an ever-changing rotation of guest chefs gives diners the chance to sample everything from Nordic to Israeli cuisine from one week to the next. All that remains consistent is a commitment to fresh food and a relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy it, with long wooden tables and an open kitchen giving the sense of a friendly dinner party.
The daily lunch menu curated by Ollie shifts seasonally but retains an emphasis on unfussy cuisine and natural flavours. A pool of creamy Tunworth cheese is complemented perfectly by the tang of a pickled elderflower salad, while soft cubes of cured sea trout are a highlight, piled with soy-marinated peas and topped with chopped shiso leaves. Halved cherries with goat’s yoghurt and crunchy granita provide a refreshing conclusion to a diverse menu. Constant change gives Carousel a natural momentum, with guests floating in and out for a glass of wine and a few small plates at the bar, or returning downstairs from a workshop to feast together. The result is unpretentious and welcoming, creating an exciting cultural hub that pushes the boundaries of what a restaurant can be.
Founded in 1990, Chutney Mary was instrumental in bringing authentic Indian cuisine to the capital, and retains its title as one of the finest destinations for sampling an authentic taste of India. The restaurant recently extended its weekend brunch menu and live jazz to Sundays, while on the walls you’ll find specially commissioned paintings by contemporary Indian artists and sepia enlargements of drawings created in the 19th century by travelling Russian artist Prince Aleksei Dmitrievich Saltykov.
73 St. James’s Street, SW1A 1PH. 020 7629 6688.
THE KEEPER'S HOUSE
Situated in the corner of the Royal Academy’s courtyard, The Keeper’s House was built in the 1870s, designed as a central London home for the Academy’s Keeper – a coveted role that has endured to this day. Walls are adorned with a range of works by Royal Academicians such as Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin, while the menu features seasonal dishes created by executive chef Oliver Couillaud. As you pass through the glass atrium, keep an eye out for the Academy’s students at work in their studios.
Burlington House, W1J 0BD. 020 7300 5881.
DEAN STREET TOWNHOUSE
Work from 50 key contemporary artists line the walls of this Soho eatery, in an impressive collection to rival most art galleries. Pieces from names such as Damien Hirst, Peter Blake and Francesca Lowe hang on subtly explicit wallpaper designed by Jonathan Yeo, which at a distance appears innocently decorative, but up close reveals a saucy secret. An all-day menu of classic British food features dishes such as Sussex lamb with gooseberry and watercress, rib-eye steak and the obligatory fish and chips.
69-71 Dean Street, W1D 3SE. 020 7434 1775.
Housed in Zaha Hadid’s swooping futuristic extension, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery’s contemporary restaurant serves Emmanuel Eger’s light but bold menu, with dishes such as halibut, wild mushrooms and hazelnuts, and Dingley Dell pork belly with chipotle relish. For some culture, pair your meal with a visit to The Touch That Made You, an exhibition of the work of Norwegian photographer Torbjørn Rødland, on from September 29 to November 19.
West Carriage Drive, Kensington Gardens, W2 2AR. 020 7298 7552.