Linked to the Radha Krishna Temple that sits above the restaurant, Govinda’s is run by volunteers belonging to the Hare Krishna movement (the orthodox core of Hinduism). It’s a testament to the quality of the food, and the commitment of the volunteers, that this unassuming restaurant is still going strong after many years.
Food at Govinda’s is served canteen-style: you get to see the options, order and pay at the counter, and dine wherever there’s a free seat. At peak lunch and dinner times, the restaurant fills up with people from all walks of life, and there’s an informal, friendly atmosphere.
There’s a wide selection of Indian and non-Indian food. All dishes are vegetarian, and many are suitable for vegans. In line with Hare Krishna beliefs, all of Govinda’s food is free from onion, garlic and mushrooms – you may expect this to impact upon the taste of the Indian dishes, but it doesn’t, they are expertly flavoured.
The restaurant’s signature dish is the all-you-can-eat thali: two vegetable curries, rice, chapattis and a side salad, all served on a large silver plate with the invitation to come back for more. If you’re not feeling quite so hungry, you can choose a smaller thali, or any of the curries as a main.
If you’re not in the mood for Indian cuisine, you can try a veggie burger, pizza, lasagne, egg-free quiche or spinach roll instead, all of which can be served with salad. There are at least 10 different fresh salads available, from simple greens to more adventurous combinations like mango, celery and walnut. All of the menu items are available to take away too.
For dessert, if you can fit it in, there’s homemade ice cream, cheesecake and traditional Indian sweets. So, again, you’re spoilt for choice.
Govinda’s is definitely one of a kind – and one not to be missed.