Valencia never ceases to amaze me. There can’t be many cities where you can find a restaurant run by a Swedish man and an Indian woman. Or maybe I’m just losing touch with a changing world!
The couple in question are Shobha Lad, who for many years and in many places has been a practitioner of Ayurveda, an approach to healing based on the idea that “the true health are in the harmony between body, mind and spirit,” and Sander Sandsjö, who likes beer.
She studied this form of medicine at the University of Madhya Pradesh. Seven generations of ayurvedic doctors have instructed her. She studied with Jadava Devi, whose great-grandmother lived in the Himalayas and died in 1991, apparently at the age of 127.
After practising for many years in India Shobha began to travel the world, living and working in Paris, Frankfurt, London and Lisbon, before moving to Spain, where she has worked in Madrid, Barcelona, Santander, Mallorca, Mahón, Las Palmas, but in the end preferred the quieter life in Valencia.
She combines her practice with a restaurant that she runs with her Swedish partner Sander, who she met in Sweden, where she cured a dermatological problem that he had had.
The menu is mostly Indian food, designed by Shobha to achieve harmony between the different parts of the body and the digestive system. But Sander makes his own Nordic contribution, which is why you shouldn’t be surprised to find authentic Swedish reindeer meat on the menu from time to time.
Another Scandinavian tradition that Sander brings to their cooperation is the microbrewery at the back of the restaurant, where he brews his own beer with ingredients imported from Sweden.
The ingredients can be seen displayed under glass on a curious long table in the centre of the restaurant.
A good diet and good craft beer are the secrets of a healthy body and the increassing popularity of this small restaurant, which is also one of the increasing number of places where you can practise your English in Valencia.
Sander, a computer engineer from Linköping, is one of 20,000 Scandinavians living in Spain, mostly at Alfas del Pi in Alicante province, where they are the majority of the population.
Across the road from Sander’s Brewey in Calle Samuel Ros, 30, ther are as many as eight Scandinavian families, many of whom help to consume the 400 or so litres that Sander brews each month.
So popular has his beer become that he has even started exporting it back to Sweden, which may sound a little like selling refrigerators to eskimos, but the heart wants what the heart wants, and if sander’s Brewery has anything, it is a lot of heart and a smiling welcome