In searching for the best of the best and true epitomies of taste that make you weak at your knees – another contender has surfaced. Duck and Waffle dominates Central London; The Glasshouse in Kew reigns South West London; and now we are proud to announce the delicacy and gastronomic flair of Paradise Garage in Bethnal Green, East London. Embracing the artistic nature that surrounds East London’s Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, the restaurants dotted along Paradise Row, beneath the railway arches, proudly show off their industrial, hassle free pop-up flair.
With excitement chomping at the bit for a new discovery, we felt it mandatory to stop by Mother Kelly’s for a sample of their bottle shop and tap room. Naturally going for a carafe of Prosecco, we watched as eager frequenters danced between the craft beer selection and social antics of a day’s work.
With our appetite increasing, it was finally time to test the flavours of Paradise Garage. Walking into the restaurant, you are immediately swept away by the friendly and addictive energy of the hostess. Feasting your eyes on the vintage feel and simple elegance in decor surrounding you; the first order of the day would be a cocktail.
The selection of seven cocktails at £8.5 each immediately made us think of the seven deadly sins. One can so easily have more than one at the same time! Opting in for the cucumber and mint combination of gin and bubbles was naturally complemented by the Melancholy – made with watermelon, cointreau, lime and mint. Fresh. Sweet and sultry. Enticing.
Once satisfied with perching up at the bar, it was time to dive into the menu. While you go through your choices, you are delicately presented with a little snack to keep you going. Wafer thin crisp breads with crunchy radish and pea puree.
Followed by the warmth and freshness of homemade sourdough bread and whisky butter – yes whisky butter. It melted onto the bread instantly tempting you to spread just a little more over.
A selection of two starters were placed on the table – boasting immediate Michelin-quality presentation and delicacy. It almost becomes painful to ruin the work of art, yet subsequently more heart wrenching when you realise there nothing but a crumb left.
The Cornish crab, kohlrabi (a type of German turnip), apple and grilled lemon dish was as fresh and simple as it was surprisingly tart and exciting in its foam.
Next was the gentle tearing of leaves off the globe artichokes and dipping them into the surrounding curd and herb chilli salsa. Make no excuses for eating with your fingers as you lick your fingers and take a complimentary bite of a padron pepper to cut the creaminess.
Time for the mains.
The Iberico Presa (finest cut of the Iberian pig), pig head, borlotti beans, anchovy and lettuce course was simply phenomenal. Succulent. Falling off the bone. Tears were brought to our eyes.
While it appears that all portions are very small – weirdly it becomes a subconscious tendency to savour every bite and swivel all sensations around your palate before going in for another one. Time stops. Silence falls. And what seems small is devoured by the beast within that sends fireworks from your taste buds to your soul.
The lamb rump, sweet bread, cabbage, peas and preserved lemon offering was cooked to perfection. Rich, yet delicate. Salty and almost sweet. Soft and then crunchy.
With space to spare, the dessert menu swallows you in. It would be sacrilege not to try a sweet ending and by all means, it is worth every spoonful.
The caramelised white chocolate, disguising itself between crispy wafer shards and mousse, was sweetened to perfection with the odd strawberry and then cooled down and almost salted with a raspberry and lemon verbana sorbet.
Dabbling in all fruits for dessert; the apricot tart, milk ice cream and lemon thyme were just as sweet and seductive, as they were creamy and sharp. With the delicacy of a thin base, the sweetness of the apricots and dreaminess of the ice cream melted into a spoonful of delight.
And then – more tears. It was all over. Desperately trying to convince ourselves that it would not be a good idea to do it all over again, the bill was paid and our minds raced between every moment that had just been experienced. Brave combinations. Fresh ingredients. Gastronomy. Delicacy. Delight. Perfection.
Paradise Garage – you have most definitely stolen our hearts for the East side of London.
Paradise Garage; 254 Paradise Row, Bethnal Green, E2 9LE
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