Govinda’s is a pure vegetarian restaurant (so veggie food but also without onions, garlic or mushrooms). It is run by the Hare Krishnas who you often see dancing and being generally cheerful on nearby Oxford Street. The staff are clad like happy Guantanamo escapees with rat tail haircuts and there is some religious literature near the servery, but otherwise you wouldn’t guess the religious connection: there is no hard sell here. The restaurant is set up like a canteen and the friendly staff fill up your plate whilst you stand in line.
Their main staple are thalis – they do a small for £6.50 and a large for £8.95. They also serve paneer in various guises, and somewhat oddly, lasagnas and pizzas. I chose a small thali along with some pakora (which was dry and stodgy – I wouldn’t recommend this). I did however really enjoy the thali. The star of the show was a cauliflower curry which was dense and rich, the cauliflower chunks had broken down and integrated with the tomatoes and coriander spicing. There was also a bean curry which was almost like a soup with strong spicing and a smattering of kidney beans. These were both rather unusual (well, at least for me) but very enjoyable. I washed this all down with a light and fresh mango lassi which also comes recommended.
Verdict: great value thali.
Also see: ilivetoeatandeattolive.