I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published May 20th 2012
Situated just a few minutes walk from Perth railway station on busy William Street, Govinda's Vegetarian Restaurant in Northbridge is one of the most unique eating houses in Perth. Run by the Hare Krishna movement, it has been operating for over 25 years at a few different locations around the city, and is now something of a local icon.
After being closed for eighteen months, it reopened about a year ago at a new address, just a few shop-fronts down from its former popular position. However, despite its new location, the restaurant still maintains the special atmosphere which has charmed its devoted clientele for decades. In addition to its sumptuous menu, the traditional bhajans (devotional music) playing in the background creates a relaxed, laid-back vibe, and the friendly staff are more than happy to explain what the different preparations are.
In a city which doesn't boast a huge variety of vegetarian eating-out options, Govinda's menu is both delicious and affordable. Its good value keeps customers coming back again and again, and its regulars include local students, families, back-packers, arts folk connected to the State Theatre Centre, pensioners, office workers and yoga practitioners. The main menu is a $10.00 'as-much-as you-can-eat' buffet ($8.00 for students, pensioners and anyone else with a health care card), consisting of rice, dal (lentil soup), one or two curries, pappadams (thin, round savoury wafers), chutney, lassi (a traditional Indian yoghurt drink) and halava, a heavenly semolina pudding which is served here with custard. This halava is truly divine, and it's not uncommon for its 'devotees' to travel from distant parts of the city to acquire some!
The 'as-much-as-you-can-eat' offer means that, if you're still hungry after devouring your generously-piled plate, you can come back for seconds...or more. In addition to this offer, extras can be purchased including samosas (large curry puffs) for $3.00, pakoras (deep fried vegetable fritters) for $1.00 each, and various other types of sweets. If the midday offer wasn't good enough value, from 3pm until closing time (which ranges from 7pm to 8pm), the restaurant sells takeaway meals for just $4.00.
While the restaurant isn't strictly vegan, many of the preparations, such as the rice, dal, samosas, pakoras and most curries are made without using any animal by-products. With the curries, it's best to check with the staff members, as sometimes dairy products are used. The sweets generally contain dairy, but once again check, as some don't. Although there isn't a specific menu for children, all preparations are only very lightly spiced and are therefore suitable even for very young ones. In addition, staff members are always happy to make up special child-size servings.
In conclusion, Govinda's Vegetarian Restaurant is a terrific little establishment with a very distinct personality. With its sumptuous cuisine, laid-back ambiance, groovy background music and terrific value it's an absolute gem: a spiritual oasis amidst the urban chaos of Northbridge.
I went here in 1992.I just Googled it to see if it was still there.
Wow.This place has been my inspiration for 25yrs to do something similar.
After owing a few restaurants and cafes in that time,I'm now in the right place to try and make it happen.
Thank you Govindas xx