Established in 1981, Woodlands Indian Vegetarian Restaurant (formerly known as Woodlands International Restaurant) has long been considered a favourite among the city’s veggie gourmands.
Serving an array of strict vegetarian dishes from South and North India, Woodlands has become a second home to its loyal customers over the years. Generations after generations visit the welcoming restaurant to enjoy an authentic curry or biryani, and it’s not hard to see why after our recent visit.
Located conveniently outside Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station Exit P1, Woodlands has recently been renovated under new management, namely VEG CONCEPTS LTD. What was once a dimly lit space decked in traditional dark wooden interior, has been transformed into a brightly lit eatery adorned with splashes of bright colour, gold detailing and designs inspired by the Indian city of Jaipur, known for its rich architecture.
Besides a revamp to the interior, Woodlands has also welcomed back the original chef who began the journey with them from the very start. Alongside catering to vegetarian and Jain (a community from India who do not eat root vegetables) diets, the menu now also includes vegan and gluten-free options. What’s more, non-alcoholic beer and alcohol-free wine (halal certified) imported directly from Europe are now also on offer.
Upon recommendation, we began our culinary adventure through India with Fried Idly ($55), Dahi Batata Puri ($65) and Vada Pav Bombay Style ($60), all of which are new additions to the menu. Served with an assortment of sauces, the Fried Idly is a delicious crunchy take on the originally steamed fluffy rice cakes. The Dahi Batata Puri filled with vegetables, chilli, chaat masala and topped with chutney and yoghurt is a delightful combination of crisp textures paired with sweet and sour flavours. The Vada Pav (a deep fried potato dumpling placed inside a bread bun) packs a punch, but for those that like it extra spicy, the gunpowder chilli is the perfect addition.
Moving on, we tucked into the Cheese Pav Baji ($80) consisting of a thick vegetable curry served alongside a soft bread roll. While I was unsure about the unconventional addition of cheese, I was pleasantly surprised (so much so, I will now be adding cheese to my own Pav Baji’s at home!)
A visit to Woodlands would not be complete without an order of the most popular dish, the South Indian “Dosa”. A Dosa is a pancake made from rice and pulses and similar to a crepe in appearance. Crispy and light in texture, the savoury snack (with or without fillings) is served hot and with a variety of side dishes.
As the first restaurant to bring Dosa to Hong Kong, Woodlands offers a wide range of variations. From the Rava Dosa made with semolina, rice flour and all purpose flour to the Masala Dosa, filled with vegetables, rice, lentils and served with chutneys and sambar (lentil-based spicy soup). New additions to the menu include Mushroom Masala Dosa, Kal Dosa and Vegetable Masala Dosa.
Whether you are vegetarian or not, we think that Woodlands should be on every foodie’s list. From the extensive range of authentic Indian dishes to the warm and welcoming hospitality, Woodlands ticks all the boxes for a casual yet satisfying dining experience at very reasonable prices.
Price: Average spend of approx. HK$100-$150
Where: Woodlands, UG shop 16-17, Wing On Plaza, 62 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Book: Visit their website, or call (852) 2369 3718
Hira is a British freelance lifestyle, food & travel writer currently living her best life in Hong Kong and blogging about her experiences here