Satisfy the herbivore in you this Diwali!

An Indian vegetarian fine dining restaurant in Dubai is now offering guilt-free treats that’ll satisfy your cravings for festive foods.


Michael Gomes

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Published: Sun 31 Oct 2021, 10:34 AM

Last updated: Sun 31 Oct 2021, 10:35 AM

Diwali is around the corner and one can almost feel the festive vibes around as eateries and Indian stores in the city prepare to put up their best show.

The Indian festival of lights, however, does not mean it’s all about lamps, firecrackers, flower decorations and putting on your best outfits; during this season people also indulge in good food, and of course, sweets or mithais are a must, and that too plenty of them.

An Indian vegetarian fine dining restaurant in Dubai is now offering guilt-free treats that’ll satisfy your cravings for festive foods. My Govinda’s, a brand reputed for its holistic and healthy vegan and vegetarian Indian dishes, has come up with an array of amazing dishes and sweets that are bereft of processed sugar, which has been substituted by fruit derivatives. Surely a healthier option than traditional sweeteners!

We took a trip down to My Govinda’s at Dubai Silicon Oasis to check out their delicacies at their spanking, new eatery in this upcoming neighbourhood. The place offers a wide range of ‘healthy’ north Indian options curated from Sattvic recipes – a 5,000-year-old ancient Indian system that is devoid of meat, fish, eggs, onions and garlic. According to old texts, eating Sattvic food promotes physical, mental and spiritual well-being!

We were curious to know out about the goodness in Sattvic recipes that recommend the use of fresh and seasonal ingredients reflected in what’s on the menu cards.

The restaurant is huge and divided into two sections – the entrance leads you to a cafe-like place where a counter displays a wide range of festive sweets – from healthy vegan to traditional options.

On display were curated, colourful Diwali gift hampers filled with an assortment of nuts, mithais, chocolates and namkeens (salty snacks) to gift during the festive season.

We then stepped into the fine dining hall, which looked pristine and soothing due to its white marble wall that was adorned with murals of peacocks and other images. The ceiling was painted to resemble a clear blue sky, dotted with fluffy, white cotton-like clouds.

A huge white artificial banyan tree sticking out of the walls, bang in the middle of the dining hall, and soft devotional music playing in the background added to the ‘natural’ ambience.

Soon as the customary ‘hellos’ ended with staff members and our choices noted, we were served a couple of starters. We started our Sattvic journey with Raj Kachori and Chole Bhature. The kachori was stuffed with a healthy mix of sprouts like moong and chickpeas. Topped with curd, and sweet and tangy chutney, it was a finger-licking appetiser.

Soya Tikka and Chole Bhature at My Govinda's
Soya Tikka and Chole Bhature at My Govinda's

We have to mention here, that this is one of those rare moments when we didn’t feel the grease on our palates nor our palms. It left us wondering how the chefs managed to create such fluffy, and puffed bhaturas without a spot of oil. Kudos to Sattvic cooking then!

We usually expect north Indian cuisine to be a tad spicy, aromatic and relying on ghee and cream to bring out the rich flavours, but here, the chefs managed to balance the ingredients in a subtle manner, the curries were not hot enough to make it to the Scoville scale and there was no hint of the rich ingredients… it impressed us. For instance, their Bhindi Masala.

You’d think masala would mean hot and spicy, but believe us, the masalas didn’t scorch nor sear our tongues. This was also the case with their Vegetable Maharani. The gravy in this is usually loaded with cream or ghee and butter, but here it didn’t feel very rich and use of fresh veggies was evident.

The Nargisi Kofta, a dish inspired by Scotch Eggs, also uses several rich ingredients. But My Govinda’s managed to satisfy us with koftas made again of fresh vegetables which were smothered in a creamy, aromatic gravy. It went down very well with the rotis.

The highlight of the meal was their Soya Achari Tikka. This is one dish that had us fooled. As we are die-hard carnivores, we were taken aback by the look and taste of this mock-meat preparation. The soya chunks tasted no less than, we would say, chicken.

The biryani too deserves a mention. It’s no mean task to satisfy a non-vegetarian biryani lover, but we were impressed with their Sattvic version. It was the blend of tomato gravy, the subtle use of aromatic spices and the dum (steam) technique that made it appealing.

We ended the splendid vegetarian feast with scoops of natural ice cream, another speciality here. The Sitafal or custard apple we were told is in season, hence we went for that flavour. It was fresh, not too sugary and of course, packed with fresh fruity flavours.

At the end of the feast, we didn’t feel bloated, stuffy or full after all the gluttony, and as Sanjit Advani of My Govinda's promised, ‘you’re sure to feel hungry in a couple of hours’, and we sure were!

Incredible flavours, and lip-smacking dishes that’ll change your perspective about vegetarian cuisine, My Govinda’s Sattvic variety has surely converted the carnivore in us and it should do that for others as well.

All in all, here’s wishing everyone a joyous Diwali season!

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