The first time we visited Paradise, we sat at a single bar stool by the window, looking out at the steady stream of people on Rupert Street, and ate a game-changing deep-fried breadfruit pastry. The second time at this Sri Lankan-inspired spot, seated in one of the low booths, the pastry had morphed into a crispy, carby breadfruit doughnut. The eagerly anticipated pastry had shapeshifted but we weren’t mad. In fact, we couldn’t decide which was better. And that's what Paradise is all about—it's a restaurant shapeshifter. Whether dining solo, as a pair, or in a group, you're covered. Plus the excellent changing menu gives a hundred more reasons to come back here. It's an unpretentious, exciting place that's quintessentially Soho.
Bar seating invites solo diners and a snack, curry, and paratha makes a perfect meal for one. Along the side of the restaurant, the two intimate booths are ideal for an intense catch-up over candlelight and wild sea bream crudo. Conversations are hushed, catch-ups feel intimate, and if you move to the back of the small Soho spot, the atmosphere subtly shifts again. One big table creates a cosy dining cocoon for a group and provides the surface space to order the entire menu—which is encouraged. And the best part is that whichever version of Paradise you choose to experience, you'll be eating the kind of memorable and impressive dishes that ensure you'll be back.
The menu is tweaked daily so while you won’t necessarily find that excellent breadfruit starter you came back for, you’ll find something just as good, if not better. Quality ingredients are at the centre of every dish: speciality vegetables and spices are shipped from Sri Lanka where possible and fresh seafood is brought in every morning, which all translates into excellent sharing dishes like northern-style turmeric dahl and creamy Devon crab kiri-hodi curry.
While “small plates” is usually code for “give us all your money”, a meal here will rarely exceed £50 a head. Pop in for a solo sesh and leave £30 lighter, or bring someone for dinner when you want to impress. But even if that date doesn't work out or you forget the name of your friend's new love interest after your catch-up, the excellent Sri Lankan dishes will stick in your memory for a long time.
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Breadfruit Vadai Doughnut
We’ve had this as a doughnut and a pastry roll, and both times it was excellent. If this is on, make sure to order it.
Wild Sea Bream Crudo
Thinly sliced raw sea bream in a citrusy dressing and covered in juicy slices of blood orange, calamansi, and pomelo—this is a refreshing and delicious start to a meal.
Northern-style Turmeric Dahl
We’re used to dahl being comforting and rich. This is both of those things, except it’s also refreshing thanks to the layer of crispy green kale on top. Pairs perfectly with the roti.
Cashew and Roasted Hazelnut Curry
A warm and nutty medley of roasted hazelnut and cashew, this curry isn’t saucy but what it lacks in sauce, it makes up for in flavour.
Seared Scottish King Scallops and Devon Crab Kiri-hodi Curry
We’re very into this dish of three big, tender scallops in a creamy crab sauce. One of our favourite things here. It doesn’t matter how polite you are, after trying one of these scallops there is no way you’ll offer the last one up, even if it is to your best friend.
Sea Bass Curry
A pan-roasted sea bass that’ll fall apart at a light nudge from a fork, sat in a chilli, tomato, and lemongrass curry sauce. Eat it with a paratha roti and watch it cling onto the different layers with every dip. An incredible combination of carby goodness, spice from the oily sauce, and delicate sea bass in each bite.