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37 Panton Street
Out of India, but with a number of branches firmly established in London, the Woodlands chain is a trusted purveyor of home-cooked, south Indian vegetarian food. Simple, pleasant decor fits with an uncomplicated ethos that favours health without getting too virtuous: most of the wines are organic or biodynamic, & vegan/Jain eaters have stacks of options. Start with idli (steamed rice & lentil ‘pillows’) with sambar & coconut chutney or a poori crackling with puffed rice, before sampling the famous dosas (rolled lentil & rice pancakes) & uttappams (lentil ‘pizzas’) with gloriously spiced fillings. All manner of veggie curries find their way onto the thalis, & puffy bhatura bread makes an impressive accompaniment. The introduction of a tandoor oven & more northerly dishes (including paneer & mushroom tikka) has been warmly received.
37 Panton Street
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 135m
Leicester Square Tube Station 285m
Comedy Theatre 50m
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
I was looking for a cheap eat near the national gallery that caters well for vegetarians and this popped up in my Squaremeal search. I can say, without a shadown of a doubt, that this is the best Indian food I have eaten since I was in Delhi. Woodlands is all vegetarian and as the Indians are great at that, the menu is extensive, but the star of the show has to be the thalis. There are four on offer, including one that caters for Jains (which I have to admit are scarce in London). Thalis are designed as a complete meal for one, so we ordered both the Delhi and the London thalis and tucked in to both as a share. Every little offering was an exquisite set of flavours. Rich, deep and delicious, each with its own properties and so moreish. Nothing was greasy, including the naan bread, which most occidental Indians serve it swimming in slime and even the desserts were beautifully crafted and not too sweet. By the end of the meal, we were both stuffed to the brim and completely sated. In fact it's so good, I am dragging my meat-loving father next week!
Food + drink: 4
Three of us dined here prior to going to the theatre. We were allocated a table promptly and menus were handed out quickly. Service was mainly efficient through out though some of the staff didn't know much about the various dishes themselves. The food itself was good quality, not greasy, decent portions and spiced well. There is a good selection of South Indian dishes and a smattering of paneer dishes too on the menu. The paper dosa was very good, as were the lemon rice and pooriyal. Easy atmosphere and relaxed. And great for pre-theatre as we were out within an hour and half easily.
South India food is subtle in its flavouring and gentle on the tummy. We had dhosas and a tandoori platter to share, and I had a tandoori pineapple for dessert with coconut ice cream. Lovely! All politely and discreetly served and modestly priced. £61 for two including a bottle of wine – excellent value for central London.
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