The History of Indian Restaurant in the North-West

The First Indian Curry on the menu in UK

The first appearance of curry on a menu was at the Norris Street Coffee House, Haymarket, London in 1773. By 1784 curry and rice had become house specialities in some fashionable restaurants in London’s Piccadilly.

The ‘Mistress of Norris Street Coffee House, Haymarket’, declared in Public Advertiser, 6 December 1773, that she not only sold “true Indian curey paste” but would “at the shortest notice [send] ready dressed curey and rice, also India pilaws, to any part of the town.” This must have been the first Indian home delivery service.

So coffee houses and taverns had already been serving curries alongside their normal menus, a few since as early as the 18th century. Additionally, the British who’d been enjoying spicy food in 19th century India attempted to recreate the dishes in their own homes when they returned.

The First Indian Restaurant

The earliest record of an Indian Restaurant in the UK dates back to 1810 when Sake Dean Mahmed opened the ‘Hindoostane Coffee House’  a plaque is applied to the wall at 102 George Street between Gloucester Place and Baker Street.

The menu and the types of food on offer cant be found, however an advert appeared in the Times 27th March 1911

“Mahomed, East-Indian, informs the Nobility and Gentry, he has fitted up the above house, neatly and elegantly, for the entertainment of Indian gentlemen, where they may enjoy the Hoakha, with real Chilm tobacco [from a village in Pakistan], and Indian dishes, in the highest perfection, and allowed by the greatest epicures to be unequalled to any curries ever made in England with choice wines…”

A few Indian restaurants opened to satisfy indian diners ‘Salut e Hind’ was the first to open in Holborn in 1911, followed by ‘The Kohinoor’ in Roper Street, and ‘Curry Café’ in Commercial Street in the 1920s. The most successful and influential was ‘The Shafi’ in Gerard Street, which opened in 1920.

Indian Restaurants become fashionable

However when Edward Palmer opened the very first commercial Indian Restaurant in the UK in 1927 he revolutionised the Indian Dining Scene and made it fashionable for everyone to eat Indian Food.  The restaurant was named ‘The Veeraswamy’ just off Regent Street in London, the restaurant is still thriving today. Other restaurants followed shortly afterwards.

Sordar & Shomsor Bahadur moved to the UK from Delhi to join their brother Bir Bahadur who had opened the Kohinoor on Roper Street in London. The brothers were a big influence to the industry and opened The Taj Mahal in Brighton, Taj Mahal in Oxford, Taj Mahal in Northampton, the Kohinoor in Cambridge & the very first Indian Restaurant in Manchester, the Kohinoor on Oxford Road all before the breakout of the Second World War. Staffed mostly by ex-seamen.

The Everest, The Monzil & The Orient Restaurants opened shortly afterwards with the Rajdoot in Albert Square opening its doors in 1966.

In 1960 there were approximately 500 Indian restaurants throughout the UK and by 1970 there were 1,200 restaurants in Britain.  Until 1971 three quarters of all Indian Restaurants were not Indian owned but owned by Pakistanis.  After Bangladesh Independence in 1971 numbers grew rapidly to 3000 in 1980 and today there are over 8000 Indian restaurants in Britain turning over more than £2 billion a year employing some 70,000 people and is one of the major industries in the country.

Some of our older sales dating back to the 1990’s include ‘Mr Ali’s’ in Crumpsall, ‘The Himalaya’ in Sale, ‘The Manzil’ in Salford since then we have sold 100’s of indian restaurants throughout the region.

Today we are currently marketing 51 restaurants for sale throughout the North-West and you can browse them by clicking here

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