Woodlands – Hampstead

Reviewed on September 3rd, 2012 by Dina

It is not very often that my mum gets a chance to come down to London! So on this special occasion, I decided to take her out for some dosas! Dosas are thin pancakes made from ground lentils and rice, which are then fermented.

The first place that came to mind was the Woodlands restaurant. I knew that their speciality is dosas as well as other south Indian dishes. They also have north Indian dishes on the menu.

To start the meal, we had two colourful drinks. The freshly squeezed apple, carrot and ginger juice was pretty refreshing. The mango lassi was made with Alphonso mangoes and yoghurt. I am used to mango lassi having a thick consistency but this one was fairly thin. It was still enjoyable though.

Woodlands Special UpmaWoodlands DrinksWoodlands Paneer Lal MirchWoodlands InteriorWoodlandsWoodlands Interior 2Woodlands Mysore Masala DosaWoodlands Masala DosaWoodlands Kulfi Falooda

There were many starters on the menu that looked interesting but then we decided only to go for two, so that we would room for our main dosa meal. The waiter said that it would be better not to choose the idli for the starter if we were having dosas later. This was because they are made from the same ingredients of rice and lentils and they are also served with the same sauces as the dosa.

Taking that into account, we made the decision to have the Special Upma and the Paneer Lal Mirch. The Special Upma was a soft savoury semolina dish. It was delicately spiced and had peas, carrots and cashew nuts in it. It was presented as a dome topped with pomegranate seeds and a Mysore coconut chutney on the side.

The Paneer Lal Mirch was cubes of Indian cottage cheese with slices of red chillies and red peppers. It was a saucy dish with a sweet and sour flavour. The sauce had cooked onions and spring onions in it. The paneer cubes were of a good size and it was a good combination of flavours.

Now onto our main dosa meal that we had come especially for. Again, we took the recommendation from the waiter who said that the Mysore Masala Dosa was one of his favourites. This dosa had the classic potato filling but it was cooked with butter and came with a spicy red chutney. It was served folded into a triangle.

The other dosa that we had was the normal Masala Dosa. This was served as a long tube and was filled with potatoes, peas and onions. Both dosas were generously filled and had good sized chunks of potato in them. The dosas were served with sambar which is a lentil dipping sauce and also with coconut chutney.

The dosas really were great and did not disappoint us in any way. They both had a good taste and the combination with the fillings and the sauces and chutneys worked perfectly together.

Dessert had to be done and there were again lots of choice on the menu. The Kulfi Falooda was a nice way to end the meal. The slices of malai kulfi ice cream with the rose syrup took me right back to my childhood days when we used to have rose syrup milkshakes! The kulfi was topped with strands of vermicilli and nuts.

Woodlands was decorated with beige furniture and soft lighting. The restaurant felt clean and well maintained. Even though it is not a huge restaurant, it still feels fairly spacious.

The staff were more than happy to give recommendations when we asked them their opinion on the dishes. They were honest and if they did not know, then they went and asked their manager. The staff all gave such lovely service and were very attentive. They made us feel comfortable and very welcome and it seemed like they really valued our custom.

Dining at Woodlands was really great and it was even better that I got to spend the evening out with my mum! Nothing beats that!

Woodlands, 102 Heath Street, London, NW3 1DR

Rating: ★★★★½

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Base – Hampstead

Reviewed on April 23rd, 2011 by Dina

As soon as you enter Base, there is the counter fridge displaying lots of tempting food! Some of the food is inside the fridge and some is placed openly on the top. The food has a Mediterranean influence with dishes including roasted vegetables, couscous, quiches and salads.

There is beige cushioned seating along the wall to go with the dark wooden furniture. The tables are close together but this is inevitable as Base is a fairly small restaurant. There is also some seating outdoors.

Base has quite a broad menu and the waiter told us that as well as the menu, we could just choose from the counter fridge.

A light lunch was what I had in mind, so I thought that a wrap would be a good choice! I was presented with a big wrap, cut in half, where one half would have been plenty!

The wrap was generously filled with lots of pan fried aubergine, humous, big chunks of tomatoes, cucumber and fresh parsley. It also came with some salad. The vegetables were really tasty and fresh, especially the aubergine and the tomatoes.

Base definitely does not skimp on its portion size! My friend chose the fish cake made from a combination of salmon, cod and haddock. It was served with salad and tartare sauce. Again, it was a big portion and made for a satisfying filling lunch!

There is a range of drinks from regular teas, coffees, iced drinks to exotic smoothies and juices. The tea is served by the pot.

Base is a lovely place to come to for good quality fresh food. The staff are friendly and provide good service. Base seems like a popular place as it was very busy at lunchtime!

Base, 71 Hampstead High Street, London, NW3 1QP

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Maison Blanc – Hampstead

Reviewed on May 7th, 2009 by Dina

Maison Blanc is a nice French patisserie. It has a small takeaway counter as you enter. If you pass this and head to the back of the store, that is where the cafe area is. There is limited seating here but they also have tables outside. The cafe area is very light and airy.

Maison Blanc interiorMaison Blanc display

The service was lovely and the atmosphere was very relaxed. Maison Blanc has great artwork along its walls and also a good display of biscuits and sweets. The bags of French treats and artisan chocolate would be good for gifts. In the display fridge, there are many pastries, tarts and also small speciality cakes.

We had mochas to drink and they were very rich and creamy; just as we like them. Maison Blanc do have soy milk. They also serve soups, salads and sandwiches. This cafe is a perfect place to come for breakfast, lunch or a coffee break.

Maison Blanc, 76 Hampstead High Street, London, NW3 1QX

Rating: ★★★★☆

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