I'd been thinking about going to Woodlands International Restaurant, an Indian eatery serving vegetarian dishes, for a long time and hadn't been there since it moved locations across the street to the first floor of Wing On Plaza in Tsim Sha Tsui East. And with the underground corridor that makes it relatively easy to get to the restaurant from the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station, there's practically no excuse now to check it out. So I grabbed a friend for lunch and when we arrived, we were pleased to see the decor had improved since its previous incarnation.
When we talked about going to Woodlands, we were both dreaming about the dosas, the giant thin, crispy pancakes served as a giant roll with a filling in the middle. But when we looked through the menu we were overwhelmed by the choices and found it hard to decide what to order.
At first we thought we'd have a dosa each and share a thali, but the waiter insisted we wouldn't be able to finish it. In the end we settled for a Mysore masala each and share the Woodlands special thali.
Before our orders arrived we munched on thin crackers called pappadam with a spicy lentil sauce and a coconut-based one that had a kick in the after taste.
The Mysore masala (HK$48) is similar to the dosa as a lentil pancake but smaller and folded into quarters. Inside was our filling of choice, braised onion and potato and it was delicious. We particularly savoured the crispy thin pancake and dipped that into our appetiser dips too.
We were almost full when the Woodlands special thali (HK$85) arrived at the table. Our server was right -- we would not be able to finish it all. The round tray came with several small containers filled with fried rice, curries, dal or thick lentil stew, masala, a curd or yogurt and pickled vegetables that was eaten with more pappadam and puri or unleaven bread.
As we were dining, at the next table a newbie on thalis asked us for eating directions. We advised him to ditch the fork and knife and use his hands and dip into whichever small pots he pleased.
We washed the meal down with some plain lassis (HK$25), though you can have it flavoured either sweet or sour or with mango flavour.
Needless to say we were completely stuffed and couldn't finish the rest of the thali.
We wanted to thank the waiter for his sagely advice, but he was busy serving other people; he's probably seen our kind many times before, and we'll be back again.
Woodlands International Restaurant
UG 16-17, Wing On Plaza
62 Mody Road
Tsim Sha Tsui East