Much more than just a gastropub
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : British
Address : 19 Kilburn Lane , London, W10 4AE, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.theparadise.co.uk
Opening Times : Mon-Wed 4pm-12pm; Thurs 4pm-1am; Fri 4pm-2am; Sat 12am-2am; Sun 12am-11.30pm
Closest Tube : Kensal Green
Pilgrims ready to make the trek to the northwest will be handsomely rewarded in the form of Paradise By Way of Kensal Green. The sprawling gastropub and music venue has been a popular neighbourhood joint since it opened, however recent developments have seen it become a culinary force to be reckoned with. But before we get to that, first a word on the setting.
Since it opened, Paradise By Way of Kensal Green has been one of the forerunners of shabby chic, with a few borderline gothic grace notes. It boasts a warren-like layout, with interconnecting rooms and a variety of bars, PDRs, stages and even a roof terrace thrown in for good measure. An abundance of candles and golden chandeliers cast an eerie light on the dark wooden floors and tables, distressed paint, mounted stags' skulls, pale wainscoting and assorted portraits. During our visit there was an eclectic blend of people with a distinctly hip edge, with age groups spanning the spectrum from young hipsters to middle-aged diners. The common denominator seemed to be cool.
In 2014 the kitchens were taken over by the immensely talented Cat Ashton. Cat is an erstwhile employee of Skye Gyngell, who took over at Petersham Nurseries when Ms Gyngell departed for Spring at Somerset House. She demonstrates spectacular nous in her treatment of produce, martialling flavours into delicious creations.
We opted for a relatively healthy pair of starters. A head of romanesco cauliflower was grilled to charcoal perfection, topped with smoked tomato, olives and a saline anchovy crème fraiche. Less healthy but no less delicious was the burrata, which was garnished with agretti, datterini tomatoes, chilli and black olives. It must be noted that the dishes were immaculately presented, beautified with nasturtium flowers.
The dinner plates were generously apportioned, hearty and reasonably priced. A spiced poussin with tomato and chickpea salad, harissa yoghurt and flatbread gave a traditionally British bird the north African treatment - it was a love letter to Middle Eastern flavours. Slow roasted lamb shoulder was as English as you can get, teamed up with parsnip puree, rainbow chard and Marsala jus. It was so sumptuous and delicate that it fell apart with the tiniest prod of the fork.
We wrapped things up by sharing an unctuous sticky date pudding which lived up to its name and stuck to our ribs. It was a very rich conclusion to the night. Paradise By Way of Kensal Green is absolutely worth the trek, and those wanting to continue the party on the weekends would be well advised to stick around and catch some live music or DJs hitting the wheels of steel.