Our last review of Imran's had not been too favourable which is probably why we had left it so long for a return visit, in the hope that they had had time to improve their act.
Despite it being a Monday evening the place was extremely busy, so booking would be advisable particularly if there were more than 4 of you. Imran's seem to pride themselves in a fast turnaround and this was evident from the start as they wanted to take our order barely after we had sat down.
To be consistent, the usual onion bhajis and sheek kebabs were ordered for starters. 4 smallish balls were how the bhajis were presented and generally these had a good flavour and consistency although PhilS thought his smelt a little burnt whilst being a little undercooked in the middle. The sheek kebabs were slightly spicy and overall very good. Instead of the usual single pot of mint sauce, we were supplied with condiments that you would expect with popadoms (4 sauces plus some onions), with the garlic mayonnaise being particularly nice.
For his main course, IanD had a grey sludge (Balti Chicken Marricha) with some of the gristliest chicken he had had the displeasure to eat. Despite looking unappetizing, the sauce actually didn't taste too bad, although the after effects were outstanding. SteveB's Balti Chicken Makhon was a not unpleasant sweet and sour dish, but the sauce had that liquidized look and there were no discernable ingredients. The chicken had been tikka'd and was very tender and the portion was huge with loads of meat. The portion of PhilS's Balti Chicken Bengal was also huge with plenty of well cooked meat. As expected with the Bengal, it contained some large chunks of potato and 2 half eggs (boiled) in addition to plenty of chillis giving it an extremely spicy taste. Rather than having individual nans, we opted for a family nan. Again this was huge with a good overall consistency, but perhaps a little burnt in places.
In our previous review, we commented on how good the starters were only to be let down by the main course. Much the same could be said about this visit as well, although there had been some improvement. Although the restaurant is licenced, you are permitted to bring along your own alcohol, but are charged 50p corkage which was not evident on the menu (PhilS kindly brought along 3 large, extremely chilled, bottles of Cobra). At one time Imran's was known for serving large, good quality meals at reasonable prices. Whilst the size of the portions may have remained the same, unfortunately the quality has gone down and the prices have gone up (although still no more than most other restaurants). Nevertheless, they must be doing something right as they are never short of customers.
Which gives an overall rating of 4 bhajis.