Yesterday afternoon, we headed over to the recently opened branch of Govinda’s in Jumeirah for lunch. Seeing as we had quite the meat fest during Eid, it was time to enjoy an array of vegetarian dishes, and what better place to go than Govinda’s that serve only pure vegetarian Indian cuisine.
The new branch in Jumeirah is well lit and intimate, with vast religious paintings inside. The ambiance is further built by the religious hymns playing in the background as you enjoy your meal. Even visiting the branch on a weekday during lunch, it was rather busy, and it was apparent that the Thali ( a set meal made up of a selection of various dishes, served traditionally in a huge round platter) was the favourite pick amongst all the customers that entered.
After being welcomed in and taking a seat, I was pleasantly surprised to see the vast choice in their menu. There is also an Oil Free Menu and a Diabetic Menu that you can choose from so that you can enjoy the same taste without the guilt! For starters we opted to go with the Pani Puri shots, which is a unique way of presenting India’s favourite snack. It was delicious and the “paani” had the right balance of sweet and tangy to it. Baby Z especially loved munching on the crispy Puris filled with potato and pulses, without adding the spicy water to them. We also received a tray of chutney and pickle, which we greatly enjoyed with crispy Poppadoms.
Next up came Govinda’s Special Malai Tikka from their Oil Free Menu (priced AED 38), which is cottage cheese marinated in mild flavoured masala. It was a special dish indeed, and my favourite from the entire meal. The malai coating was sweet and the cottage cheese so tender. Paired with a Sitafal Lassi, a milky drink made of the Custard Apples that are currently in season, it made for quite a filling start to the meal.
Baby Z was adamant to glug down the entire Lassi in one go, it was that delicious! I especially loved the traditional cup it was served in, giving the drink an added earthy texture.
For the mains, we enjoyed the Vegetable Maharani again from the Oil Free Menu (priced at AED 38) which is a curry of mixed vegetables, cottage cheese and fenugreek, along with some deliciously soft Parathas (priced AED 9 each). The vegetable curry was thick and creamy, with huge chunks of paneer within, midly spiced to cater to delicate palettes.
Accompanying this we ordered the Hyderabadi Biryani (priced at AED 40) that once again came in a traditional clay pot along with a smaller bowl of the yoghurt Raita for dressing. The Biryani too was delicious and mildly spiced, yet so very colourful and a feast for the eyes as well as your stomach. It got a big thumbs up from Mr Z who said he felt like he was eating back in India, so that dish must be doing something right!
For our sweet ending, I went with Ras Malai as well as a bowl of Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. The Ras Malai was unfortunately a little dissapointing, as it was rather chewy instead of moist and easily breakable. I also prefer my Ras Malai to be extremely sweet, which it wasn’t.
The ice cream from Tru Frut however, that I was told is prepared in house using 100% natural and vegetarian ingredients with no added preservatives or artificial flavourings, did not disappoint at all. It was creamy with the right amount of chocolate chip crunch. I may have to go back just to try out a few of the other ice cream flavours!
All in all it was a lovely experience. The staff were quick to service and paid close attention to detail, as well as being very hospitable. This review does not do justice to their dishes as their menu is so vast and we only tasted a very small portion of it. I love that Govinda’s cater to special dietary requirements such as Vegan, High Protein, Diabetic, Healthy Hearts and more. The dishes we had from the Oil Free menu did not at all compromise on taste, which is rather shocking to know that there is no oil involved in Indian Cooking, yet it tastes just as good, and the best part is that the entire menu is completely affordable! Promoting this clean eating habit at great prices is something that I absolutely support and wish to see more of.
If you are looking to take a bite out of their Oil Free menu, or try out the other wide range of pure vegetarian dishes, head on over to one of the two branches of Govinda’s in Dubai – Karama & Jumeirah. For bookings and a closer look at their menu, head on over to their website.
Note: I was invited by Govinda’s to check out their new Jumeirah branch for review purposes. However, all views expressed above are honest and solely my own.
Have you been to Govinda’s before? What are your thoughts? Please feel free to share in the comments section below!