Romy Gill @ Carousel

With a fellow food-lover’s birthday celebration coming up and seeing Romy Gill’s menu at her residency at Carousel, I knew I had to change the plans. And so glad we are that I did! 

Last year Gill was awarded an MBE for her services to the hospitality industry, alongside Nick Jones of Soho House & Co and Mark Hix, and after seeing and tasting her humble and creative style of cooking, I can completely see why. Believing in eating with the seasons and the impact of food on the environment, she is an inspiration for me and many others. 

From my own time in India, I really started understanding the concept of eating with the seasons - if it’s not there, you can’t have it. We are very lucky and spoilt in the UK to have access to strawberries in the winter and squash in the summer, and the influx of mangoes, avocados and so many other tropical fruit all year round. In India, with much less imports, the country relies on their vast land’s different climates and abilities to produce the food to feed themselves (and those around the world). Being subject to this for a while, you start to understand the importance of your relationship with the world; you are one tiny speck on the Earth, but one of many that could affect it for the worse or for the better. 

Equally important is the benefit of eating with the seasons, which means your food is highest in it’s nutrient content because it has been naturally and organically grown and harvested. Trying to live this way in the UK is definitely harder because everything is on the shelf, ready to be handed over to you, but it’s something I’m trying to be more aware of and to live by. 

Romy’s food, whilst with some British influence, brought me straight back to India and all of it’s very special culinary creations. On the menu;

  • Tandoori Quail, Mint and Coriander Chutney, Red Cabbage, Walnut and Pomegranate Slaw 
  • Spiced Gurnard, Patch Phoron, Raw Papaya Salad 
  • Grilled Aubergines, Grated Paneer, Kachumber
  • Tamarind Spiced Octopus, Fennel and Apple Salad
  • Keralan Goat Curry with Tarka Dal, Jeera Rice 
  • Chai and Saffron Cheesecake 

My absolute favourites from this dinner was the quail and aubergines. The balance of spice, bitter, sweet and sharp was just fascinating, and with the contrasting textures, these made some of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten out. It took Indian food to an eye opening level for me, sort of luxury but still very homegrown and achievable (if you had the recipe of course!) 

Her brief speech at the beginning of the dinner was another reason to admire her, she said all of her thank you’s (to the guests, to Carousel, to her team with two highlighted) and then simply said, she was absolutely knackered and made a very happy, bow out to the kitchen. Her work isn’t just in the evenings and her dictating what is to be done, but takes all day and with a balance of involvement and trusting delegation. 

If she’s in your town soon, or you see her name at foodie festival, I do urge you to go. You’ll be blown away.