Back when it opened in October, 1993, Cafe Paradiso was already offering the food of 2017. Denis Cotter was cooking wasabi mash, and roasting his beetroots with balsamic vinegar, and frying his vegetables tempura-style, and making corn pancakes. It’s a measure of how far advanced the techniques and influences of vegetarian cookery were that it has taken mainstream cuisine more than twenty years to catch up. But Mr Cotter and his business partner, Ger O’Toole, haven’t stopped pushing the envelope, and they are still twenty years ahead of everyone else. The cooking in Paradiso doesn’t use meat, but it’s facile to call it vegetarian cooking. Instead, it’s a cuisine open to every influence – Middle Eastern; Mexican; Southern Californian; Japanese; Asian – and its artful assemblage of these strands produces stunning food.
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