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If you have visited this space on Wyndham Street before, you may recognise it as the classic low-ceilinged room that previously housed L’Entrecote de Paris – unsurprising, as the owners have remained unchanged. The decor has only seen a minor revamp before the venue’s transformation into Paradis. The tiled flooring and colonial-style wooden panels remain but sofas are now set along forest green tones and new wallpaper featuring patterns of jungle bushes now span across the dining space, creating a rustic countryside vibe unlike most other restaurants of its kind.
Along with the tweaks on décor, there are twists on the menu and –voila – a rebranded concept emerges, where French cuisine is fused with a tropical Caribbean twist. The menu is structured with small plates to start, mains and desserts to follow. The starter of tender slow-cooked octopus and pork belly features the sweetness of smooth butternut squash adding a sweet touch to the spicy meat. Acra, or fish croquettes, are small and golden brown. Packed with ginger and coriander, they are juicy enough without the hot sauce served alongside.
For mains, we ordered slow-cooked Iberico pork chop. The thick slab of meat lacks a seared crust, but is tender and juicy. The star anise sauce was a great accompaniment, although we would love to have more candied sweet potatoes on the side. 44 degree cooked salmon is Paradis’ signature dish. The execution felt more South-East Asian than Caribbean with a laksa-like spicy broth, complete with tofu and bean sprouts. The salmon was tender but wasn’t cooked enough. If you must order a side dish, cinnamon crusted plaintains are very good, sweet and spiced with a bite to it.
‘Element’ baba is Paradis’ version of baba au rhum. The sponge itself is moist and the rum flavour brings out its sweetness. The passion fruit semifreddo was on the icier side, and nowhere near the ideal half-melting texture, although the passion fruit throws a few tart punches to cleanse our palates.
The wine menu at Paradis is impressive with page after page of bottles from Spain, Italy, and France, as well as a modest selection of by the glass options with tasting notes included. The cocktails are a colourful mix of long drinks and revamped classics. Both varieties tend to be on the sweeter side, and Paradis is more creative when it comes to fruitier cocktails such as Frozen Charred Key Lime Daiquiri, packed with citrus tartness at first and syrup-sweet notes after. The Widow’s Kiss is another strong drink bringing together calvados, chartreuse, Dom Benedictine and the slightest dash of Angostura bitters.
Service at Paradis is divided. The bar staff are friendly and bear sound knowledge over the drinks. The restaurant staff, however, require much room for improvement, as they need time to warm up to the guests with better knowledge on food and wine menus, as well as making recommendations for guests.
A three-course dinner for two with one cocktail each amounts to nearly HK$1,300. We feel that service needs work and the restaurant needs to polish its direction as a French restaurant with a Caribbean twist, as currently characteristics for neither cuisines are distinctively expressed on the restaurant’s offerings.