During the frenzied Wolverton Curry Wars of early 2002, the most catastrophic event was the fire bombing of the Eastern Paradise. Well, perhaps we've exaggerated slightly - a small fire caused by a faulty electrical appliance had seen the Eastern Paradise closed for a few months but after major refurbishment it is finally back in business. As a re-opening offer we noticed that a discount of 25% was being offered and we were hooked. The new waiting area was straight out of DFS with lots of leather sofas in various styles. The fake plants have now been swept aside (presumably melted in the fire) and the single row of tables is now only punctuated by a couple of narrow arches to split it into thirds.
For starters - the usual! The onion bhajis were two large flat disks, a bit greasy but with a perfectly succulent texture By comparison, the sheek kebabs were short and fat and rather tough and flavourless. Thankfully there was a bright orange splatter on hand and once smothered the taste improved no end.
We were offered the option of pausing between courses but as we were starving decided to carry on regardless. The Balti Chicken Pathia was exactly what it said on the menu - nice and hot and fruity with plenty of tender and juicy chicken pieces. The sauce was well flavoured and bright red with a strong tomatoey twang - but then a tomato is a fruit. The Balti Chicken Dupiaza had the same luscious chicken but the sauce was a bit spicier than expected. Nevertheless, it was tasty enough and had the requisite abundance of thick onion slices. For a change, the Chicken Bhuna had a great thick gunky sauce. The nans were a bit of a let down, only a small 5cm disk of keema stuffing whilst the vegetables in the kulcha nan had fused completely with the dough. Had they been cooked a bit more evenly, they would have been a lot better.
It's good to see that the better elements of the Eastern Paradise have not gone up in smoke! Indeed, some of the more dodgy things from our last visit have improved - it's good to see that our constructive comments have been taken on board. The staff were very friendly and courteous and the 25% discount was given without us even asking for it and, more importantly, the draught beer was cheap (although they did have a large selection of traditionally overpriced bottled beer). There was only one negative point: the aniseed bits were snatched from under our fingers when the money was taken - we won't be letting that happen again. Without doubt and with no fear of being accused of exaggeration, the Eastern Paradise is easily one of the top two curry houses in Wolverton. And its prices are lower and chairs lighter than its rival!
Which gives an overall rating of 4.5 bhajis.