Paradise by Way of Kensal Green is an enchanting vintage pub & restaurant tucked away in a corner of North-West London. It has a loyal throng of local devotees but it really is a destination venue; Londoners travel from all corners of the city to experience it’s unique bohemian style, great food and abundant good times. It’s a restaurant, it’s an old country pub, it’s a bar and it’s also a place to dance the night away come Friday.
I’d experienced the dancing and drinking part, more than once, enjoying the varied rooms set out over two floors and the quirky themed nights with top live music acts and DJs but having heard that chef Cat Ashton had now taken over the kitchen, I was eager to visit the restaurant and experience the complete Paradise package.
The restaurant, like a stately home dining room is so full of character the place felt richly vibrant and lively, despite being a Tuesday night. It’s sophisticated and charming but not at all stuffy. We were tucked away in a corner, where we could overlook the entire room, with its ornate hanging chandeliers, heavy velvet drapes and the thick-wood tables with leather-backed chairs. The deco is very cool, the place feels like a cross between an old aristocratic English manor and a provincial French chateau. They were doing shabby chic, before shabby chic was a ‘thing’.
The food was beautiful. I started with a nettle and ricotta ravioli with a wild green pesto which was delicious. My friend wanted to have the same but I persuaded him into the burrata with prosciutto so I could try that too. Luckily he looked pretty happy when the pile of soft, creamy burrata cheese arrived sitting upon salty prosciutto ham, broad beans and roasted tomatoes.
For the main my salmon arrived with a crispy skin and edible flowers balancing on top, which was sitting in a light and fragrant broth. The fish was delicately cooked, light with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The al-dente baby carrots had just enough crunch for texture and the green peas added freshness. My friend went for the shoulder of lamb; a generous piece of slow-cooked meat, which was served with parsnip puree, swiss chard and a red wine jus.
Our host talked me into the chocolate torte for dessert (he didn’t have to work very hard), which was served with crunchy honeycomb and their fresh homemade rhubarb sorbet. It was heavenly. The sharp cold sorbet was a perfect match for the rich dark chocolate and the sweet honeycomb on the plate. Not much of a sweet person (I’m starting to question our friendship…), my friend ordered the cheeseboard, with suggestions from our lovely host and it looked delicious but I was too busy with my plate of chocolate heaven to try any.
The wine, again was a recommendation from our host who clearly knows his food and drink, which I always thinks speaks volumes about a restaurant.
So here’s what I next have in store for Paradise and I: arrive Friday early evening, enjoy another delicious dinner in their gorgeous dining room and then only leave once I’ve danced and drunk in every room in the house. My love affair with Paradise is only just beginning and now I’ve sampled their amazing menu, there’s no going back…