The history of the first Indian Restaurant in Manchester begins with the first Indian Restaurant in the 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 on 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 can’t 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 shortly afterwards 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. But still no Indian Restaurant in Manchester.