We'd been criticised recently for being too Northampton oriented so to try and redress the balance we headed out to Wolverton. The Eastern Paradise is a long, narrow restaurant the width of one table and a walkway. The eating area was divided into 3 sections creating quite a cosy atmosphere but the dividers and the profusion of plastic plants made it very difficult to check out the diners not in your section. There was plenty of Bombay mix in the waiting area and as our table was not quite ready, we were also served our drinks there. Unfortunately, the pints of lager had 3 inch heads on them and the young boy was at a loss as to why we requested a top up. Even then, they were not quite full pints. There was an extensive range of bottled Indian lagers with matching glasses available so they would have been the best bet to avoid any short measures.
There were a number of exotically named starters but there was no indication of what they consisted. The waiter explained them all when he came to take our order but by then we had all opted to try the onion bhajees. Each portion consisted of two large round bhajis (which had been half squashed) and a large side salad. The bhajees looked quite good but were unfortunately soaked in grease. The lemon juice and bright orange yoghurt helped to lessen the impact of the grease but it was a struggle to finish both as they were very filling. We think they would have benefited from being thrown back into the fryer for a couple of minutes.
The Eastern Paradise describes itself as "The First Balti House in Milton Keynes" but a quick glance at the menu revealed that there's not really much choice on the Balti front. The balti chicken methi had so much ghee that it became a little off-putting towards the end. The chicken was tender but this was probably due to its fat content. Although described as a medium dish, it was rather mild. The Balti chicken pathia again had lots of very tender chicken although this didn't seem to be at all fatty. It was quite a hefty portion and the sauce was very tomatoey and spicy enough to give a buzzing sensation in the lips. It was a bit on the hot side for a medium dish but we had been surprised to find it described as medium in the first place. Again, the Balti chicken rogan josh was a bit on the mild side. The sauce had a tasty combination of large slices of tomatoes, onions and green peppers and the meat had a melt-in-the mouth quality. Garlic nans again received a mixed reception. This time however, it was justified. One was almost perfect whilst the other was so crispy that in the dark it could have passed for a popadom! Both had a strange orange colour. The keema nan was disappointing, being very crispy and burnt. There was not much stuffing but this was made up for by the generous amount of charcoal - it had obviously been dropped when retrieved from the oven.
We quite enjoyed the Eastern Paradise and we were not alone. The place was packed when we arrived and as tables were vacated, they were reoccupied almost immediately. This probably caused the service to be a bit on the slow side as did the brisk takeaway trade. We had to wait about 40 minutes from finishing our starter before the main dishes arrived and the promised 10 minutes to prepare the takeaway was more like 20. We were also disappointed not to receive any palette cleansing oranges or any of those little aniseed things as these had been provided to other diners. When the bill arrived, we found we had been overcharged by about 20% on all of our main dishes. We were told we'd accidentally been charged the takeaway prices and the bill was amended. We'd like to think this was a genuine mistake but it would be a nice little earner if it occurred regularly! Thank goodness that skinflint IanD checks the bill thoroughly after the now legendary Gulshaan fiasco.
Which gives an overall rating of 3 bhajis.