We had originally intended to go into London this weekend, but good old London Transport had decided to close most of the Central Line into town down. However we were not going to let a little thing like that get in the way of a bit of fun, so we took the tube outward to the Essex town of Theydon Bois again.
Arriving in the daylight we went for a walk on the Green where we met some very chatty ducks by the pond, before decamping to the Victoria for a pint of AK Bitter and then to the Bull where to my delight Young’s Special was the guest ale.
Theydon Bois has three Indian restaurants and we had already tried the Indian Ocean, which was a bit variable on the quality of the food and a bit flashy of decor. The Theydon Bois Balti House (Station Approach) on the other hand from the outside looks as if it has been caught in time warp. Black glass windows behind twisted columns, very old school curry palace, but it had been given a glowing recommendation by my physio who has her practice in the town.
Stepping inside we found a light green interior, fresh white table linen and a very well-kept tropical fish tank. The staff were very welcoming and there was that really great Indian food smell wafting from the kitchen. It was also rammed solid with other diners, so it was just as well we had booked a table.
For starters Mab had the Mulligatawny soup,
Mab slipped me a taste and it was very good, obviously homemade with a fresh coriander garnish, I had the Seekh kebab,
while Nick had the Shammi kebab, both of which were delightfully spiced.
The main courses consisted of a Chicken Jalfrezi Balti for me, Mab’s Chicken Vindaloo and Nick’s Lamb Jalfrezi, along with Tadka Dahl (lentils), Motor Panir (cheesy peas), Sag Aloo (potatoes with spinach), onion rice and a Keema (spicy lamb mince) stuffed Naan.
The food was really excellent and really well presented. The curries were garnished with fresh chili and coriander, the meat tender and well-flavoured. The Vindaloo was particularly good with a subtle heat, that gradually increased in intensity rather than blowing your head off. All in all top quality traditional Indian restaurant cuisine
Needless to say that there was far more than we could eat, but we made a valiant effort. Over some very welcome complementary digestifs the manager came over to talk to us. We mentioned how much we had enjoyed our meal and he explained how he had chosen to stick with the original menu of basic Indian favourites like Vindaloo, Balti, Persian and Madras curries with either chicken, lamb or prawns, since opening the restaurant in the early 90s. No fancy new dishes with duck or fish for example. It’s obviously paid off for him, as the place was stuffed with happy eaters and we shall certainly be visiting again.
So what’s the damage? For three with papadoms, starters, mains, three vegetable dishes, two portions of rice, Naan bread, chapati, one bottle of Chilean white, two pints of Cobra, and water £76. Pretty good for three stuffed and happy diners.