Brixton's Karakana brings fresh twist to Indian cuisine

Karakana has opened in Brixton this month, serving its own unique take on popular Indian comfort food. 

The restaurant, styled as an Indian diner and bar, infuses flavours from the creators' heritages and travels around the world. 

Karakana, which means 'workshop' in Hindi, was created by friends and local restaurant collaborators Pat and Elly Foster and Masterchef champion Tim Anderson, who together launched Anderson's Japanese brand Nanban back in 2015. 

Jez Galaun and Mike Ross, co-founders of Brixton Brewery, have also joined the team, brewing a spiced wheat beer especially for the restaurant; while head chef Khilesh Anand, formerly of fine-dining establishments such as The Cinnamon Club, brings Karakana's menu to life. 

Dishes include tapas-style small plates that guests can mix and match, ranging from lotus blossom onion bhajis to cheese and potato samosas and double-fried chicken wings, alongside hearty curries of aubergine karahi parmigiana, cauliflower karahi and madrasi machli – transforming salmon into an Indian delicacy with spices from the country's southern shores. 

Diners can also choose from a range of tandoori dishes with an Indian twist on lamb chops, pork ribs and miso salmon. A signature currywurst dish – a Berlin favourite – served with sweet vindaloo sauce, shoestring fries and pickled cauliflower is also offered. 

Drinks include house cocktails such as The Karakana – a mix of vodka, amaretto, lassi, mango and pistachios, as well as classic tipples including Pino Co-Lassi, Apricot Rose and Tamaring Whisky Sour. 

On the opening, Anderson comments: "Working on the Karakana menu alongside chefs Rivaaj and Khilesh has been a wonderful learning experience for me. I've always adored Indian food but never had an opportunity to get involved with it first-hand. Khilesh's style of cooking is informed by traditional methods of fine dining, whereas Rivaaj's influences are more global and informal, and it's been amazing to see how different approaches have come together into a cohesive menu."

Karakana is situated on the corner of Coldharbour Lane and Electric Lane, in the heart of Brixton. The diner takes booking and walk-ins, as well as offering takeaway and delivery services. 

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