Sunday Roast Review: The Paradise

October 26, 2010

The Paradise
Kensal Green
Pork belly (£15.50), Goosenargh corn-fed chicken (£14.50), Rib of beef (£17.50), Rump of Lonk lamb (£16)
Roasting: 7.1/10

A roast awaits
Roast chicken

A Sunday roast is all about satisfaction. For Finn Renardo, that comes down to the meat. The tenderness of the beef. The snap of the pork crackling. The saltiness of the chicken skin. The juiciness of the lamb.

For Yorkshireman Neil, it’s all about serving size. When the day revolves around one single, vital, lunch, it has to fill you up to a point where you can simply eat no more. It has to put you into a food coma, as Neil calls it.

For Iranian Roasted Sundays debutante Annahita, it is the roast potatoes – the glee she feels when she saws through a crisp, outer layer of golden-brown skin to get to the fluffy, moist interior: potato heaven. The spuds are the most crucial part of a Sunday roast, she argues, “because they’re the only thing that I can’t do properly at home myself.”

Where's the gravy?

Me? I can’t enjoy the hodge podge of disparate elements that make up a Sunday roast plate unless they are unified by a messy dark brown puddle of thick meat juice, otherwise known as gravy: the magical elixir that bonds it all together.

Tellingly, there is a lot of discontentment at our table when the food arrives, especially for a pub that calls itself ‘Paradise’.

Neil’s tut-tutting, Annahita’s sighing, Renardo’s grumbling, and me? I’m wondering where the hell my gravy is. We asked for an extra jug (Sunday roast offerers please note: bottomless gravy boats should be on the table as standard, not desperately begged from the kitchen like Oliver Twist), and all we got was two measly fingers worth. Not even enough for me, let alone for a table of nine. Two fingers, indeed!

Pork belly

Those that ordered the Rump of Lonk lamb were left with a serious case of menu envy – compared with the thick slice of Trough of Bowland beef, or the plentiful Goosnargh corn-fed chicken, the lamb was a mere dwarf. The pork belly too, was a little on the smaller side compared to the other pork belly experiences that we’ve reviewed recently.

And none of us were happy to find ourselves the losers of Paradise’s roast potato lottery: some of the duck fat roasted spuds were perfectly brown and crispy, whilst others were soft and dry, like they had been boiled, and then boiled again.

The Yorkshire pudding, as spectacular as it looked, was near-on impossible to swallow due to the aforementioned lack of gravy. “Who can actually eat a Yorkshire pudding without it being covered in gravy?” asked Annahita. Quite.

At least the vegetable medley was sufficient, if not unimaginative, with al dente green beans, red cabbage and sultanas, carrot slices, and a single roasted parsnip each.

Roast beef

Inside the Paradise's dining room

Bread & butter pudding

By the time the Roasted Sundays score cards came out, the cynics had already sharpened their axes. “The fact is, the beef here is a whole £2.50 more than the Hawksmoor’s, which is the best we’ve ever had,” shouted one. “When you charge above £15 for a Sunday roast it has to be next level, it has to be exceptional,” said another.

Strangely, after arguing ferociously about each category, the final score actually turned out to be fairly positive. The Paradise’s beautiful and relaxed dining room filled with antique furniture, miscellaneous artifacts, chandeliers, and stuffed animals, made us feel right at home. It scored high in atmosphere.

The menu variety too, was beyond anything previously seen, with not one, but two offerings, for those bloody, self-righteous, meat-hating sods, the vegeborings. We had no choice, but to give them a 10 for that.

And when the deserts arrived, the whole mood changed thanks to the brilliant sticky toffee puddings and coffee ice cream, caramelised bread and butter puddings in custard, and rich chocolate mousses, that made everyone feel as jolly as cream.

The final bill was, in the end, pretty hefty at over £30 per head (including two bottles of wine).

Were we satisfied? Admittedly yes, our stomachs may have been, but ultimately we couldn’t help feeling a little disgruntled. Perhaps, even a bit ripped off.

Meat ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Potatoes ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5)
Veg ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6)
Yorkshire ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7)
Gravy ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5)
Serving Size ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7)
Menu Variety ★★★★★★★★★★ (10)
Service ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Atmosphere ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (9)
Value for money ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6)

Total Roasting: (7.1/10)

The Sweet Fiend’s Last Word ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9) (*new category for puddings!)


6 Responses to “Sunday Roast Review: The Paradise”

  1. Shireen Says:

    Saved me a trip to Paradise for my roast! I’m surprised at the high overall rating considering the roast itself seemed to be deflated.

  2. Thanks for the comment Shireen. The Paradise actually wouldn’t be a bad choice, if they fixed a couple of their shortcomings – mainly the lack of gravy, and the randomness of their potatoes. The price too could be a bit lower, as £17.50 for a roast is a bit too much to ask we think.

  3. Charlie Says:

    My girlfriend and I already had a trip to Paradise (10 mins from home) pencilled in when we saw your review. We therefore hoped that you’d experienced a bad day and went along with expectations high this Sunday. Sadly they were to be dashed.

    While your gravy issues seemed to have been dealt with, the potatoes were far from great, having no discernible crunch to the outer. My lamb was average at best, certainly no match for the lamb I had at The Water Poet two weeks previously. My gf’s chicken was better but not spectacular. The Yorkshires were also a disappointment.

    But in saying all of the above, it it had cost a £10-12 each we’d have probably been fairly happy. As it was, the £16 for the lamb was ridiculous and £14.50 for the chicken too much.

    Most unforgiveable of all though was the service; of the four staff members we had cause to speak to, only one could be described as friendly and helpful. The others made an expensive meal a frustrating and annoying occasion and we couldn’t leave quickly enough at the end.

    All in all a huge shame. My only disappointment with your review is that ending up with 7/10 seems generous given the text that comes before. I certainly think a 6 would be more accurate.

  4. “Who can actually eat a Yorkshire pudding without it being covered in gravy?” Says:

    And you all thought I was being overly negative, the independent adjudicator has now spoken, Paradise just need to listen…

  5. @Charlie – Sorry to hear your roasting experience at Paradise was anything but.

    We actually received a response from the guys at Paradise on Twitter, and they said they were taking our comments seriously and hoped to rectify the mistakes/problems as outlined in our review. Unfortunately that might have been sent after your visit.

  6. Charlie Says:

    Hi Roastedsundays

    Yep, credit to Paradise, they tweeted me and the OH yesterday in response to a tweet she sent. I’ve emailed them with details of where things went wrong; it’s nice to know they care enough to follow up.

    And also good to know that they recognise that 7.1/10 is not good enough!

    Keep up the good work with the reviews.


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