Even though it’s just two stops east on the Central Line from where we live, I had never been to the Essex village of Theydon Bois until about a month ago. Until recently it was just another point on the London tube map, but thanks to my elbow injury I was refered to see a physiotherapist there. Now being the sort of person who likes to make the best of any new situation I thought I’d see what else Theydon Bois had to offer and discovered two pubs and three Indian restaurants all within five minutes walk of the station. This bears future investigation I thought.
Before we go any further here’s a wee bit of history. the second part of the name is generally pronounced ‘boys’ and is derived from the Norman French de Bosco family who held the local manor in the 12th and 13th centuries. The spelling was only standardised as Bois in the 19th century when the Great Eastern Railway needed it for the station signs.
So where to eat? Well The Indian Ocean (Coppice Row) seemed to top the local recommendations, so reservations made we headed to the tube station. On arrival the first thing that struck me was that it was very dark. This is because the local villagers have consistently voted against street lighting to maintain the local ambience and keep their council tax bills down. Whether this leads to more accidents and burglaries I don’t know, but it does mean that the night sky is very clear, so you can see plenty of stars.
Our first stop was The Bull (Station Approach, Coppice Row). The building dates back to the 17th century when it used to be a private residence, but today it’s a fairly large and traditional village pub. Just the sort of pub we like really, music not too loud and a happy atmosphere, mind you any pub that does not need to have a goon on the door on a Saturday is alright by me. It’s a Charles Wells brewery pub and the real ales on tap on Saturday, included Bombardier and The Governor. I had a pint of the latter and very pleasant it was. The food looked good, with generous sized portions too.
Next stop was The Queen Victoria (Coppice Row). This is a McMullen’s pub serving AK and Country bitter from the hand pumps. We opted for the cosy Victoria Room, much favoured by the local dog owners, rather than the bar,
where I enjoyed a pint of Country in front of the blazing log fire before the main event.
Now we had heard a lot of good things about the Indian Ocean and getting a table had been quite difficult. The restaurant is very contemporary in design and features a huge set of screens where air is pumped through water to constantly changing coloured light. I made a mental note not to sit facing them ever again as it was a bit like watching the opening credits to a 1970s edition of Dr Who for the duration of our visit.
So what was the food like. A bit mixed really Mab and I stated with the Harryali Kebab, tender char grilled chicken breast dusted with mint, coriander, garlic and chili which was delicious, but Nick’s Shami kebab was tasteless and bland. For a main I had the Rajeshwari chicken. Consisting of chicken cooked in tomato, peppers, coriander and garlic it was very good, Mab’s Dalcha Gosth (shredded lamb cooked with green chilis and coriander) was also a success, but Nick’s Duck e Roshidi (tomato, garlic, green pepper, coriander and onions) was again a bit bland in flavour. The side dishes Tadka Dahl, Aloo Gobi, Keema Naan and Sag Paneer were all excellent especially the Sag Paneer, which can often be a disaster in the wrong hands.
With wine beer and water the whole meal came to around £76 which I thought was pretty good value, despite the disappointment over some of the dishes selected.