Latest opening: Paradise

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Latest opening: Sri Lankan restaurant Paradise in London's Soho

Related tags: Sri lanka, Restaurant, London

Contemporary Sri Lankan restaurant Paradise has arrived in London’s Soho, taking over the former Spuntino site on Rupert Street.

What:​ Another independent Sri Lankan restaurant to hit Soho (following the launch of Eroshan and Aushi Meewella’s Kolamba​ on Kingly Street last year), which looks to explore the country’s vibrant cuisine through dishes that reflect the influences of Portugal, the Malays, South India and the Netherlands.

Who:​ Paradise is the first restaurant project from Dom Fernando, who has taken inspiration from childhood trips to his family’s native Sri Lanka, where he observed his grandmother’s traditional cooking techniques and use of historic recipes. Working with head chef Charith Priyadarshana, Fernando has drawn on the island nation’s different regions to create a selection of dishes that merge British and Sri Lankan ingredients, with an emphasis on seasonality and sustainability.

The food:​ The small-plates menu is broken down into several sections, with diners encouraged to picks one or two dishes from each. Similarly to Kolamba, prices are notably affordable, with most smaller plates coming in at under a fiver, and larger fish and meat dishes generally ranging between £10 and £12 each. Signature dishes include modernised street food staples such as curry leaf hoppers (£3.50); mutton rolls with fermented chilli sauce (£5.50); slow roasted pork cheek with tamarind and Sri Lankan stout (£12.90); and fried aubergine and jaggery moju (£8). Other highlights include roasted chicken curry with crispy chicken skin (£10.50); and a Sri Lankan take on fish and chips that sees yellow cod curry with coconut and fenugreek topped with shoestring fries (12.50).

Paradise1

The drinks: ​Paradise’s ingredient-focused ethos also extends to its drinks menu, which features interpretations of classic cocktails such as coconut and nutmeg colada (£9.50); and ghee arrack old fashioned (£9.50).  The team has also worked with Zeren Wilson of Bitten & Written to put together a wine list that highlights growers who focus on low-intervention winemaking and who work with an ethos ‘grounded in biodynamic and organic principles’. Prices range from £5 to £10 per glass, with the average bottle cost between £30 and £40.

The vibe: ​East London designer Dan Preston, whose previous credits include Kiln, Smoking Goat and Brat, has overseen the interiors. Inspired by the modern bistros of Colombo and Galle, the design blends industrial elements such as unpolished cement and black metal to create a tropical brutalist style that’s smart and subtly effective. It’s a small space, with only 30 covers. While the bar and window seating is available for walk-ins only, the small group of tables are available for booking.

Paradise3
Paradise founder Dom Fernando (R) with chef Charith Priyadarshana (L)

And another thing:​ Sri Lankan cuisine is having a bit of a moment right now. As well as the recent launch of Paradise and Kolamba, JKS-owned Sri Lankan restaurant brand Hoppers is currently preparing to open its third, and biggest site to date​ in London’s King’s Cross. While growing restaurant group The Coconut Tree​, which currently operates six sites outside of the capital, said last year that it would eventually bring the brand to London as it looks to roll out to 20 sites nationwide.

61 Rupert St, Soho, London W1D 7PW
paradisesoho.com

Related topics: Openings

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