Latest opening: Paradise 2.0

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Paradise 2.0 Sri Lankan restaurant Soho Dom Fernando

Related tags Paradise Sri lanka Dom Fernando

Dom Fernando is evolving his progressive Soho Sri Lankan restaurant with a new design and tasting menu.

What:A reboot of sorts for Michelin Bib Gourmand-holding Sri Lankan restaurant Paradise.​ The Soho restaurant is going tasting menu-only in the evening but will continue to offer a la carte at lunchtimes. The six-course tasting menu will see the kitchen focus on native culinary techniques including claypot cooking and bamboo grilling. The Rupert Street venue - which has previously appeared on Restaurant’s​ list of the top 100 places to eat in the UK​ - has also undergone a redesign, the most notable change being a handsome stone countertop that looks outward onto the restaurant seating seven guests and also serving as a central workstation on which the kitchen and bar team finish dishes and make drinks. 

Who:​ Paradise was launched in 2019 by Dom Fernando, who prior to striking out on his own held senior roles at Intercontinental Hotels. The kitchen is overseen by Alfie Bahnan but Fernando has considerably input into the menu, drawing on childhood trips to his family’s native Sri Lanka, where he observed his grandmother’s traditional cooking techniques and use of historic recipes. 

The food:​ The food on Paradise 2.0’s new tasting menu is more refined and creative but the flavours are as punchy as ever. Dishes include a crunchy mas roll packed with spicy steak tartare with tomato and garlic emulsion and smoked charcoal oil (pictured below); crab-infused wattalappam (a coconut-based custard that is typically served as a dessert) pomelo, sea buckthorn gel and kalu sago; and lamb with black garlic curry and coconut and nettle puree partnered with a turmeric and saffron dahl and a chilli pickle made with Yorkshire rhubarb. Available for dinner Tuesday to Saturday, the menu is priced at a very reasonable £59 per person. The philosophy behind the a la carte menu will also change to reflect the restaurant’s tweaked culinary direction ‘while staying true to the heart and core of what Sri Lankan food is in terms of the different layers of spice and the textures’. It is understood that Paradise may eventually go fully tasting menu-only. 

Beef-Tartare-Roll

To drink:​ Paradise is partnering with Max and Noel Venning of Three Sheets​ on its Sri Lankan-influenced cocktail programme, which spotlights ancient fermenting and clarification techniques. Options include Rambutan Daiquiri (curry leaf-infused Aluna coconut rum, rambutan and acids); and Calamansi Leaf Gimlet (East London gin, calamansi leaves and caraway seed). The restaurant also offers a tight list of ‘precise and dynamic’ natural wines. 

The vibe:​ Fernando has worked with Paradise’s original designer Dan Preston to rework the space. The new design reflects the evolution of the restaurant whilst retaining its tropical, brutalist roots. The new design is a little warmer, making use of timber, oak and ash to ‘embody a more cosy lived in design’. The restaurant seats a little over 30 covers in total. The semi-private space seating up to six guests remains in the back corner of the restaurant.  

And another thing:​ Paradise’s branding won’t be changing with Paradise 2.0 simply the name of the project to evolve the restaurant. Fernando says the change is due to his desire to do something new without moving on from Paradise’s current home or opening an additional site. “I have evolved Paradise to reflect the fact that I have grown as a person and that my view of cooking and Sri Lankan food has also changed. The world has also moved on since the pandemic. I love the essence of Paradise but now is the time to take a risk and really progress modern Sri Lankan food.”

61 Rupert Street, London W1D 7PW
www.paradisesoho.com

Lamb-Curry-Sq-Crop

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