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Kitsch, colourful and veggie

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14:47 CEST+02:00
Kathleen Harman's dying to add some colour to her life, and is relieved to find that Stockholmers occasionally have the capacity for slightly kitsch taste. One place particularly replete with colour is a restaurant at the city's Hare Krishna temple.

My latest ‘must have' home accessory has to be a chain of fairy lights, fashioned not entirely tastefully in the shape of crayfish, and in a rather alarming sort of peachy, almost prosthetic limb, colour at that.

They were adorning a crayfish party that I attended last month, and I thought they were wonderful, as too were the bright red shiny crayfish shaped confetti that decorated the table top. What with the silly crayfish party hats and crayfish paper napkins, it was just like crustacean Christmas.

Admittedly I do have a somewhat hazy recollection of the night's proceedings, but I was left with a warm glow that cannot be attributed fully to either the schnapps or the alarmingly coloured lobster lights.

I think it was the discovery that Stockholmers do have the capacity for slightly kitsch taste, especially when it comes to festivities, that made me so happy. It would not have been half as much fun without those plastic crustacean embellishments - to have been greeted by a line of ubiquitous white tea lights may have been classier but would have suggested, quite correctly, that the host either had no imagination or took himself too seriously, and neither of those qualities bode well when looking for an evening of silliness.

Indeed, one of the only reasons I would ever countenance living in the suburbs would be so that I could drain the national grid system of all its electricity at Christmas time. I have always hankered after a life-size replica of Santa and his reindeer scampering over my roof top, all in flashing neon, of course. And then perhaps a narrow gauge railway, again completely lit up, that weaves its way through inflatable snowmen in the front garden. Like I say, festivities are not the time for good taste. More is, well, more, when it comes to having fun.

So, if, during the next few months you find yourself wishing to bang your head gently against yet another blond wood table in yet another white and characterless lunch room, then I have just the solution for you. Situated beside the less than salubrious surroundings of the Fridhemsplan T-bana station is Govinda's Restaurant, where the interior décor is so exuberant that you have no other choice but to feel happy.

Govinda's is part of the Hare Krishna temple. It's a religion I know little about, so I was very interested by the concept of eating there. It does a great dagens lunch for 80 kronor (no credit cards), the staff are very pleasant, not a tambourine in sight, and the restaurant is decorated with all sorts of murals and has a huge fish tank that would keep even attention deficit disorder sufferers busy for hours on end.

There is also a sort of mezzanine lounging area where you can sit on floor cushions and eat on low tables. However, being a notoriously messy eater at the best of times, I opted for the conventional chair and table combination.

The clientele seemed entirely mainstream and I would say that it is undoubtedly the most characterful place to eat around that area, which does tend to be dominated by either dive bars or foccacia type establishments.

The food is all vegetarian, but pretty and interesting vegetarian, not ugly and boring vegetarian. Think Indian ankle bracelets as opposed to nasty brown German orthotic sandals. There are different specials every day but I would recommend the mixed plate where you get to have a taste of everything.

So remember Govinda's when you need a bit of perking up over the coming months - it will leave you with a little glow that surpasses even that of a string of prosthetic limb coloured crustacean fairy lights.

Govinda's Indian Vegetarian Restaurant: 08 654 9004

Fridhemsgatan 22, 112 40 Stockholm

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