The battle of the town’s best curry house comes with its fair share of contenders.
To stand out then, each Indian restaurant should be looking to pack some heat through the individuality of its menu – while not forgetting the staples to satisfy the Korma crowd.
At Eastern Paradise the 100 plus dishes cover everything from Bhuna to Biryani, Dansak to Dopiaza, Madras to Massala.
Chef’s Specialities include the restaurant’s own take on the Pasanda and Jalfrezi, for example, but the Chadgon, Tikka Acher, Razastani Gost and Desi Khana are more unusual.
Allow some time for menu perusal as there is much to catch your attention.
For mains, ranging in price from £6.50 to £10.95, I was tempted by the enigmatic Lamb Dazzling Delight – described as the chef’s speciality recipe cooked with special herbs and spices, but opted for the Chicken Rezala cooked with onion, green chillies, herbs and spices.
The King Prawn Sag is cooked in leaf spinach in a medium sauce but my partner requested it hotter to which the staff happily obliged.
As part of the £29.95 meal deal for two we chose a vegetable side of Brinjel Bhaji –aubergine cooked in spices, Pilau and a Special Rice with onions, sultanas, almonds and coriander, and a Peshwari Naan to accompany it.
It was a lot to manage but the price was very reasonable considering that our starters were also included.
The Lamb Tikka, marinated in yoghurt and cooked over charcoal, was tender, juicy, flavoursome and gone within minutes.
In comparison, the Fish Pakora, dusted in pepper and spice and deep fried, was not as refined and could be lifted with a crispier coating.
I’m told that the fish is from Bangladesh. It perhaps works better when cooked in sauce, but I would be happy to forego this one authentic element for the sake of freshness which in turn would help to bring out the flavours.
We weren’t entirley sure what to expect from the brief descriptions of our mains, but the Rezala was rich and sweet, with big chunks of chicken, caramelised onions, a tomato puree base and the chef’s secret blend of spices which I’d love to know.
The Sag was beautifully cooked with meaty prawns cut into delicate twists and powered by an intense hit of chilli.
Sides were as expected and although there were leftovers, this was not a reflection on the standard, but rather the amount. We were more than satisfied.
Decor is a mix of styles; tables and chairs follow a red and black colour scheme, Indian prints adorn the walls beneath wooden panelling in contrast to the uplit ceiling switching between neon colours.
It could be more consistent yet it doesn’t take away from the relaxed atmosphere.
Service was impeccable from the start and attentive throughout even to the offer of our own choice of drinks on the house at the end of our meal.
In total with drinks and a £2 surcharge for the king prawn dish, the bill came to £39.35.
I’d personally rank Eastern Paradise in the top two curry houses of the town, and with a few minor tweaks here and there I wouldn’t have a doubt as to which position it occupied.
Ratings (out of 10)
Menu choice 9