Where to find contemporary Sri-Lankan food in London’s Soho

by Harriet Thorpe 17th January 2020

In London’s Soho, the newly opened Paradise restaurant combines Sri Lankan family recipes with influences of Portuguese, Malay, South Indian and Dutch cuisines. The fiery tastes of the menu are inspired by owner Dominic Fernando’s grandmother’s cooking, and the restaurant design by the lively canteens of Colombo, delivered by Dan Preston, the London-based designer behind Smoking Goat and Kiln.

Whilat, ‘paradise’ might sound far away, the restaurant has a local and seasonal approach to sourcing food. In the kitchen, head chef Charith Priyadarshana, who grew up in a small village outside of Colombo, combines traditional techniques and flavours with British dayboat seafood delivered every morning, Oxford Down lamb reared by Tom Boothman in Linton and free-range eggs from Fluffets Farm in New Forest.

The menu starts off with a selection of ‘short eats’ such as arrack-infused cauliflower roti tacos, coconut labneh, and mutton shoulder rolls with fermented chilli. Then, it grows richer and deeper still with bigger plates such as date and pistachio hand-stretched godamba roti, jackfruit and cardamom biriyani or Highland pork cheek curry.

There’s a fusion of cultures and flavours on every plate and the weighty grey clay and ceramic plates are a calm antidote to each dish. Designed by Brixton-based husband and wife Sofia and Kosta, each plate has been individually illustrated with the curvy Sinhala script.

Fernando worked with London-based designer Preston to evoke the atmosphere of the modern eateries of Colombo and Galle, where straightforward industrial materials, outdoor dining, and an encroaching of nature define the dining experience. Combing functionality with craftsmanship, a tropical brutalist aesthetic was reached through unpolished cement surfaces, raw black metal details, hand-carved terracotta tiles by Reiko Kaneko.

The attention to detail extends to the cocktail list, concocted by head bartender, Ellen Visser, who combines Sri Lankan ingredients with artisanal spirits. The Rampe Martini mixes Colombo No7 Gin, Noilly Prat, coconut, and vinegar. While food and drink insider Zeren Wilson has curated a wine list of small batch, organic, natural and biodynamic wines.

Instead of a far-off destination, Paradise, it seems, is many places, flavours and people, all at once. After travelling from Colombo to Brixton through taste and touch in just one evening, cleanse your palette with fresh ginger beer or papaya and banana infused coconut water in-house.

Make a reservation at Paradise Soho

Images courtesy of paradisesoho.com



Related Articles

Koto Cabins

27th October 2020

We spoke with the founders of Koto Cabins, Johnathon, Zoe and Theo. Koto design, build and deliver beautiful modular homes, cabins and sculptural small buildings that are inspired by Scandinavian design and culture. Having lived on the shores of the Norwegian fjords, Johnathon and Zoe were deeply impacted by the aesthetic and raw environment. Theo, […]

Kobu sat down for a virtual chat with forward-thinking property developers Berrow Projects, whose latest restoration project the Canoneta Townhouse is well underway in the beautiful town of Sóller, Mallorca. What was the reason for setting up in Mallorca? We have been coming to Mallorca on holiday since we can remember so it has always […]

In a renovated townhouse in the centre of historic Antwerp, Ilse Cornelissens and Tim Van Geloven have lovingly crafted a philosophy on sustainable living – Graanmarkt 13. The concept store, gallery, restaurant and apartment, which opened in 2010, was designed by Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen. Behind the restored neoclassical façade, handpicked “objects for life” […]