Monday 15 October 2007

Paradise Balti - Petersfield

Ah the much maligned Paradise. Loved by some, viewed suspiciously, even despised by others. Mother looked down her nose at me when I let slip I’d lunched there…in glorious isolation yes and not once but twice!! ‘Oh mother’ I pleaded, ‘The Paradise is no opium den’, though the peace and calm that descends when inside the PLACE, stepping in from busy, dizzy Lavant Street may feel poppy induced. SERVICE soothes, PRICES don’t quicken the pulse and there’s 20% off at lunch, and Wednesday, Sunday nights.

The discount was an explanation for my presence last Sunday, it only runs for a short while. I’m aware curry houses operate on geological time where special deals are concerned but further reasons for my patronage included a determination to keep my word (for once). The amount of occasions I promise the guys at the Paradise I’ll pop in and don’t – always see them after prayer, after work for me in the library. I was also keen to sample the new menu…suggested new chef, an improvement?

Previously the kitchen proved capable of a classic curry house Rogan Gosht garnished with onion tarka, Meat Vindaloo, not hellishly hot but lovely and warming in addition to decent Dhansaks, flavoursome Bhunas etc. Equally they’ve also cooked me a a Saag Paneer undeserving of its name, olive oil drenched spinach topped with mesh of grated cheddar cheese and a classic curry house Bhindi Bhajee, delicate ladies fingers battered and sticky, squeezed in the greasy hinges of a car door.

On Sunday I chose (wisely) to avoid the vegetables. Firstly enjoyed a Pomegranate Kebab. 2 large flat burgers, bound together with tasty mince, lentils. Oniony with a spiciness imparted by garam masala and deliciously accompanied by mellow orange tandoori yoghurt sauce, smooth, honeyed, with a slight chilli kick. Crowded plate just had room for fresh salad. The principle affair was a Chicken Tikka Jalfrezi. Good though it was almost outshone by brilliant pilau rice pungent with the aroma of a big indian bay leaf and cinnamon bark. Rice really added to a mighty Jalfrezi, not subtle but brimming with different flavours, salty, sour, sweet with green, red peppers, toms, chunks of onion, leafy, heady aftertaste of coriander. Onion Raitha alongside and a medium dry white, served at right temperature full bodied with apples and lime.

In SUMMARY I was very pleased. Being within walking distance I’ll go back soon (though I don’t promise) because of the snug ambience, unassuming staff and improved food. The restaurant offers decent formula curry.

Willp2328 score: 6/10

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