Raising the standard: Do you remember an Indian Verandah? Not like this

So much more than the standard Indian restaurant fare


Karan Gokani is on a mission to revolutionise the Indian dining experience in Denmark. Born in Mumbai, he moved to Cambridge to study law. But his dorm kitchen was not the usual site of frozen pizzas and expired milk. Gokani, to the delight of his study-mates, was an avid cook.

Having landed a job at a finance law firm, Gokani would dine at some of London’s finest restaurants. And he enjoyed it more than an average foodie might: so much so, that one day he traded his business suit for a chef’s coat and went back to India to study a food culture that is as diverse as the vast country itself.


Embracing variety
From the fragrant rice and spicy staples of the south, to the creamy curries and stuffed flatbreads of the north, and from the pillowy pavs of Mumbai to Delhi’s famous street food, chat – Verandah’s kitchen embraces variety.

In the spacious kitchen, amidst bubbling curries and a radiant tandoor oven – 450 degrees hot! – a handful of cooks from the region (India, Nepal, Bangladesh) dish up tikkas, biryanis and chats.

Every couple of months the menu changes to incorporate a different aspect of Indian cuisine. Currently the inspiration comes from Indian street food, reinterpreted at Verandah in high-end fashion using Denmark’s freshest and finest produce.


An extensive experience
Not wanting to compromise, we opted for the chef’s tasting menu, which comes in a vegetarian and meat version. The attractively arranged pre-starter impressed with three bite-sized mouthfuls. After tasting what turned out to be the best papadum I’ve ever tried, the learning experience began: not only does mustard play a role in Indian cuisine, but it goes very well with eggplant!
As much as we didn’t want to see the tiny platter go, there was much more in store. The taster menu is an extensive six-course experience, so I recommend you come hungry.

The potato and chickpea-based chat was colour-consciously complemented by pomegranate seeds that also added freshness to this heavy starter.

All about the bass
Next up on the non-vegetarian menu was a juicy piece of sea bass in a bright green ‘Hariyali’ marinade – a distinct and hard-to-place flavour that I had never encountered in or outside Indian cuisine.

In the next course too, the meaty ‘Beef Kheema Pav’ won out over its vegetarian rival, though the latter boasted a delicious though indulgently deep-fried ‘ramson pakora’ I couldn’t get enough of.

A dizzying pace
Dining on a Tuesday night, the restaurant was busy, but not full, and the courses were served at a dizzying pace that left no time to digest. We were accordingly dispassionate about the main course, a ‘Lamb Berry Pilau’ with rice baked under a protective bread-roof that sealed the flavours nicely.

The accompanying dal, Indian bread and steamed basmati rice were all expertly cooked, though too much for us to take in, despite the salty-sour icicle we had previously been served as a palate cleanser.

Fortunately the service was friendly and full of understanding for our limited ‘storage’ capacity. It didn’t, however, prevent us from thoroughly enjoying two delicious cocktails recommended by the bar: their very own Spiced Monopoly and a passion fruit punch that made for a perfect accessory to our dessert – a rice-pudding like version of crème brûlée and ‘Kesar Shrikhand’, a curd-based ice cream.


No incense burners
By the time we had finished it had turned dark, but the view over the canal was still magnificent. Verandah is located a short walk from Nyhavn, the Metro and the theatres in a classic – and classy – art deco building that was originally a hydrofoil boat terminal.

With its muted pastels, the modern and distinctly Scandinavian minimalist interior is a world away from the incense burners and Shiva statues one might associate with Indian restaurants. And that is very much in line with the concept.


“One guest at a time”
Gokani oversees several successful Indian restaurants in London, but he considers Verandah a special kind of challenge that is worth jetting to Copenhagen for five days a week for.

“The Danes are not used to eating high quality Indian food, as we know it in India and even London,” says Gokani.

“This is a huge challenge for us, and we know it’s impossible to change the views of a nation overnight, but at the same time it’s incredibly soul-satisfying, both as a restaurateur and an Indian, to change the views of 60 new diners each night! I’m sure we will get there, one guest at a time …”

Summer on the verandah
Check out Verandah’s current menu at the restaurant’’s website. For those too hungry to wait for dinner, there is a lunch option: authentic tandoor meals served outside on a gorgeous verandah.

Summer is coming and it smells of chilli, mustard and clove.



Located in The Standard, Havnegade 44, Cph K;
open Tue-Sat 12:00-14:30 & 17:30-21:45;
set menus 395-595kr;
7214 8808,