Soho, London

Creative Sri Lankan food is the order of the day at this progressively-run restaurant


Paradise offers a counterpoint to the majority of the capital’s other Sri Lankan restaurants in that it takes authentic flavours and ingredients from the island but often applies them in a non-traditional way. So, while there are some tweaked versions of Sri Lankan staples – including mutton rolls, acharu and devilled prawns – the menu is more creative than many would expect.

Printed daily, said menu features the likes of wagyu beef tartare, calamansi, coconut, chilli, gotukola, roast paan crumb; coconut-brined lamb shoulder and wild garlic curry, sea vegetables and peas; and triple-cooked devilled new potatoes, rampe, chilli, curry leaf and puffed potato. There’s just one dessert on offer – a coconut cake with chai ice cream – but, rest assured, it’s an absolute stunner.

Talking of stunners, the dining room at Paradise is quite something, combining cement and black steel to create a Brutalist-inspired space that’s designed to make the colourful dishes pop. The Rupert Street restaurant was launched in early 2020 by Dom Fernando and the kitchen is now helmed by Sri Lanka-born MasterChef: The Professionals semi-finalist Malin de Silva. Fernando, who also hails from the island country, says that de Silva is well-suited to the role because he can combine his understanding or Sri Lankan flavours with a knowledge of Western cuisine (he earned his stripes in top UK fine dining kitchens).

“We are trying to push the boundaries of Sri Lankan food to offer something that’s different and contemporary,” says Fernando. “We do have people come in that are surprised that the dishes we’re offering aren’t traditional. But I’m okay with that because the ingredients we use and the flavours we create are very authentic.”

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