THERE is, I believe, a gene which makes people welcoming, friendly, attentive and charming. It is the hospitality gene.

Not everyone has it – it would be a dull world if we were all the same – but at The Bicycle restaurant, it is in the DNA of every one of them.

The restaurant sits surrounded by cornfields in the village of Tendring, well off the beaten track.

There is no passing traffic (unless you count the annual Tour de Tendring cycle race) meaning diners must put themselves out to go there.

It is a minor inconvenience given the rewards.

I had been intrigued by the name of restaurant. Eateries normally bear clever foody names or references to Greek gods or the like. The Bicycle, as such, was something of an enigma.

The name, we found out, is in honour of the owner’s late father who was a keen cyclist and the cycling theme follows through in the décor of the restaurant.

As we walked in we were immediately welcomed and as we perused the bar, which includes 18 varieties of gin (just saying), the waitress generously, if not a little recklessly, offered my husband, Steve, a chance to sample the beers if he was unsure of what to plump for.

The smiley, accommodating waitress then talked us through the menu of classic British food. It was one of those where you could have begun at the top and eaten your way through to the bottom.

Steve settled on squid in salt and pepper batter for his starter. Squid, if not cooked well, can be a little rubbery but not here – the batter was crunchy, the squid soft and flavoursome.

I chose smoked salmon pate which was sweet and creamy.

For our main courses, Steve went for sea bass cooked in a lemon and caper sauce. It was beautifully cooked, moist and delicious.

I was torn between lemon chicken cooked in a cream lemon sauce and a wholesome lasagne. “Would you like a bit of both?” asked the eternally helpful waitress.

I went for the chicken. It was delicately cooked and the sauce was subtle and delicate.

I asked for chips instead of new potatoes, being, as I am, something of a chip connoisseur and these were perfect - crispy and fluffy, melting in the mouth.

To round off a perfect meal, Steve enjoyed a chocolate pot, a deep and intense mousse, with a coffee (to cut through the sweetness – so considerate) while I threw myself into an enormous strawberry and blueberry Eton Mess. It was rich and indulgent. The diet was ruined but in a good cause.

If you want a first class dining experience, all you have to do is get on your bike.


The Bicycle, 

Crow Ln, Tendring 

01255 830340


Squid in salt and pepper batter £6.95

Smoked salmon pate £6.95

Sea bass with new potatoes and seasonal vegetables £14.95

Grilled lemon chicken with green beans and chips £12.95

Chocolate pot and Americano coffee £5.95

Strawberry and blueberry Eton mess £5.95


Atmosphere 4/5

Food 5/5

Décor 4/5

Value 4/5

Service 5/5

Disabled access Yes