Albert Einstein once famously said, "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." Tucked away from the prying eyes, situated in an unassuming corner at Soho, Govinda's is an Indian vegetarian restaurant where vegetarianism is "celebrated" every day.
Govinda's Welcomes You
Started by ISKCON, a world renowned Vedic Centre and temple dedicated to Lord Krishna (late Steve Jobs used to frequent the centre in America before he became an iconic figure), Govinda's fulfills a central part of the Vedic ideology—to provide fresh, nutritious and vegetarian meals at an affordable price.
As you enter its narrow corridor, you will be greeted by their ever-smiling staff whilst different aromas tease your senses. The décor is frill-free and simple, keeping in line with the Vedic principle of living a simple life. The restaurant is reminiscent of a college canteen. All the products here are free of meat, fish, eggs, onions, garlic and even mushrooms. But despite these exclusions, their selection has to been seen and eaten to be believed.
Govinda's has a myriad selection of recipes that will cheer your taste buds. There is the standard Indian fare—rice, vegetable rice, dal tarka and up to three different vegetable dishes as well as starters like samosa, spinach roll and spring rolls as well as veggie pizzas, burgers, lasagna, quiches and salads. The starter and main menu is moderately priced from £2.00 to £5.00. You can also opt for thalis, literally meaning plates. The medium thali comes with a selection of one roti (flat bread), rice, dal and one vegetable dish whilst the large thali comes with all this and a starter (£7.95).
While alcoholic drinks are strictly forbidden for spiritual reasons, they have a plethora of drinks like sweet or savory lassi (a yogurt based drink), Mango lassi (yogurt based with Mango pulp, each costing £ 2 to 2.50) and assorted teas.
Do you have an incurable sweet tooth? Do not fret. They have a selection of desserts that will satiate even the most picky dessert connoisseur. The strictly Indian line consists of laddhus (roasted chickpea-flour and butter fudge with variety of nuts, £1.25) and kheer (rice pudding, £2.50) while there is also a selection of egg-less fruit cakes, vegan cake, apple crumble and Gateaux with fresh fruit (£1.25 to £2.50).
Indian food has a notorious reputation of being too spicy, but at Govinda's you will not face this problem. Why? Spiritual reasons again. The belief is that food which is too spicy will spoil the natural balance found in its ingredients.
Govinda's is truly a slice in London's vibrant cultural fabric that celebrates the simple things of culinary life.