indian curry

The first Indian restaurant in London and the story of its owner

There are many Indian restaurants in London these days but they are not a recent invention, they are not a sign of the recent globalization. Wrong! The British began to appreciate Indian food during the occupation of India, as we know many lived in India to meet the needs of a huge military and bureaucratic apparatus.

Now the most eaten dishes in the British Isles, aside from pizza, are Indian curries. It is therefore no coincidence that the first Indian restaurant in London opened in 1810 by Sake Dean Mahomet, a cook, surgeon and entrepreneur from Bengal. The restaurant used to be called Hindostanee Coffee House and was behind where Selfridges is today, an area affluent even then.

We need to open a note on Sake Dean Mahomet who was perhaps the first non-European to become famous in Europe. It also has other records; in addition to opening the first Indian restaurant in London, he brought the fashion of shampoo massages to the head to Europe and was the first Indian to publish a book in English.

His was a travel book called The Travels of Dean Mahomet and you can read it here for free. He also lived for a long time, he was born in 1759 and died in 1851. The restaurant also accepted orders to take home, practically a prototype of the modern takeaway. Maybe we should say that Dean Mahomet also invented take-away food.

Unfortunately, the running costs in such an expensive area became soon too much and Dean Mahomet had to close the restaurant a few years later. However, his record remains as the first Indian restaurant in London and perhaps also in Europe. Now you will also find a blue plaque where the restaurant used to be over 200 years ago.

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