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Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant

According to Rylance’s account in the book, the restaurant had a relaxed ambience with a colonial style decor, and probably served mildly spiced curries.

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Indian Spices. Image Source: kingofspices.in
  • Mapping the history of Indian restaurant in London, it has been revealed that the first Indian restaurant was established over 200 hundred years ago in 1810
  • With HCH Mahmoed endeavoured to serve ‘Indianised British food’ in an elite and comfortable surrounding
  • Much later, in the early 20th century, sailors from East Pakistan, the present Bangladesh, opened eating establishments in London for the members of their community

The variety of Indian cuisine today reflects a 5000-year history of a blend of various communities and cultures, leading to diverse flavours and regional cuisines. The coming of the Mughals, the British, and Portuguese further added to epicurean delights in the country.

Indian cuisine was further influenced by the spice trade between India and Europe and is frequently termed by historians as the primary reason for Europe’s Age of Discovery. Spices were bought from India and traded around Europe and Asia.

Indian style and taste of cooking have also shaped other cuisines across the world, especially those from Southeast Asia, the British Isles and the Caribbean.

Just like the way food influences travelled to India, similarly, Indian cuisine and recipes were appreciated abroad. Specific dishes and spices have become immensely popular across the world leading to Indian restaurants gaining ground globally.

Mapping the history of an Indian restaurant in London, it has been revealed that the first Indian restaurant was established over 200 hundred years ago in 1810.

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‘Hindoostane Coffee House’ (HCH) owned by Sake Dean Mahomed, a charming Bengali traveller, surgeon, entrepreneur and captain in the British East India Company, was the first Indian restaurant in London, reports Londonist.com.

Sake Dean Mahomed. Image Source: Wikipedia.org
Sake Dean Mahomed. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

HCH was previously located at 34 George Street,now renumbered as 102 George Street in Marylebone, between Gloucester Place and Baker Street. It’s now marked by a Green Plaque.

Since Indian curry was already famous in England during the 19th century and Mahomed was an ambitious entrepreneur, he wanted to capitalise on this growing market and affinity.

With this target group in mind, he established the Hindoostane Dinner and Hooka Smoking Club in 1810, which with time was known as the Hindoostane Coffee House.

HCH wasn’t a coffee house in the contemporary sense of the term serving hot drinks, but a concept used by many restaurants at that time after drinking coffee had become a trend.

With HCH, he endeavoured to serve ‘Indianised British food’ in an elite and comfortable surrounding.

He first announced his intentions with a rather elaborate advertisement in The Morning Post, 2 February 1810, which read as, “Sake Dean Mahomed, manufacturer of the real currie powder, takes the earliest opportunity to inform the nobility and gentry, that he has, under the patronage of the first men of quality who have resided in India, established at his house, 34 George Street, Portman Square, the Hindoostane Dinner and Hooka Smoking Club…”

However, not much is known about HCH. A book was written by Ralph Rylance ‘The Epicure’s Almanack’, London’s first restaurant guide has a slight mention of the Indian restaurant.

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Rylance refers to Mahomed as ‘Sidi Mohammed’, and said that the restaurant “opened… for the purpose of giving dinners in the Hindoostanee style, with other refreshments of the same genus. All the dishes were dressed with curry powder, rice, cayenne and the best spices of Arabia.”

According to Rylance’s account in the book, the restaurant had a relaxed ambience with a colonial style decor, which probably served mildly spiced curries.

Born as Sheikh Din Muhammad in Bihar, Mahomed was way ahead of his time. He singularly took up the Indian food business at the time when Indian cuisine was making its way into the heart of the Britishers.

Much later, in the early 20th century, sailors from East Pakistan, the present Bangladesh, opened eating establishments in London for the members of their community.

‘Salut e Hind’ was the first to open in Holborn in 1911, followed by The ‘Kohinoor’ in Roper Street, and ‘Curry Café’ on Commercial Street in the 1920s. The most successful and influential among them was ‘The Shafi’ in Gerard Street that was opened in 1920.

-This article is prepared by Bulbul Sharma, a staff-writer at NewsGram.

ALSO READ:

  • Aparna Gupta

    An Indian Restaurant in London, sounds really interesting. It is good for the Indians who miss the spicy Indian Cuisine staying away from home.

  • AJ Krish

    Indian curry and its spices are well known abroad. The flavoring and cooking techniques have been adopted into the modern cooking styles.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Indians have always been surprising the world with their food. Indian restaurant sounds really interesting

Next Story

Manoj Bajpayee is an amazing actor and a team player on set: Sidharth Malhotra

Sidharth Malhotra on Thursday treated his fans to a question and answer session over Twitter.

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Actor Sidharth Malhotra
Actor Sidharth Malhotra. Wikimedia Commons

November 7, 2017: Actor Sidharth Malhotra, who will be seen sharing screen space with Manoj Bajpayee in “Aiyaary”, says the National Award winning actor is amazing and a team player.

Sidharth Malhotra on Thursday treated his fans to a question and answer session over Twitter.

A user asked the “Student Of The Year” actor about his experience working with Manoj in “Aiyaary”.

Sidharth replied: “He’s an amazing actor and a team player on set.”

“Aiyaary”, set in Delhi, London and Kashmir, revolves around two strong-minded Army officers having completely different views, yet right in their own ways. It is a real-life story based on the relationship between a mentor and a protege.

Presented by Plan C and Jayantilal Gada (Pen), the project is produced by Shital Bhatia, Dhaval Jayantilal Gada, Motion Picture Capital.

When asked about the development of the film, Sidharth replied: “Awesome. Excited to show it in a few months.”

Sidharth, 32, also described his “Brothers” co-star Akshay Kumar as his “brother from another mother.”(IANS)

Next Story

Indian-Origin Doctor Manish Shah charged with 118 Sex Offences in UK

The doctor, Manish Shah, is also charged with one count of sexual assault on a child under the age of 13

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Indian-origin doctor in UK
Dr. Manish Shah charged with sexual assault. Wikimedia
  • A 47-year-old Indian-origin doctor in east London was charged with 118 sex offences, including one assault on a child under 13
  • Shah is out on bail and is due to appear on August 31 at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court in London
  • The charges announced today follow a long-running investigation into Shah, who has been bailed several times after first being arrested in 2013

London, August 3, 2017:  A 47-year-old Indian-origin doctor in east London was on Thursday charged with 118 sex offenses, including one assault on a child under 13, by the Scotland Yard.

Dr Manish Shah, from Brunel Close in Romford area of the city, is accused of 65 counts of assault by penetration and 52 allegations of sexual assault, the Metropolitan Police said.

The doctor is also charged with one count of sexual assault on a child under the age of 13.

“Manish Shah has been charged with 65 assault by penetration, contrary to Section 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, 52 sexual assault, contrary to Section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and 1 sexual assault on a child under 13 years, contrary to Section 7 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003,” the Met Police said in a statement today.

Shah is out on bail and is due to appear on August 31 at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court in London.

ALSO READSexual crimes against women are highest in UP

“The NHS (National Health Service) has a dedicated number for any individuals who may have concerns or questions. They can be contacted on 0800 011 4253,” the Met Police said.

The offences are alleged to have occurred between June 2004 and July 2013 and relate to 54 victims.

The charges announced today follow a long-running investigation into Shah, who has been bailed several times after first being arrested in 2013. (IANS)

Next Story

Scientists develop New Surgical Glue Inspired by Slug Slime as Alternative to Sutures and Staples for Closing Wounds

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A slug rests on a finger of a gardener in a park in London, April 29, 2016. Scientists have studied the mucus of snails to develop an experimental surgical glue.
  • Scientists developed a medical adhesive inspired by slug slime
  • The surgical glue is said to be strong, non-toxic and the best replacement to sutures and staples for healing wounds
  • The first such experiment was inspired by the sticking properties of underwater mussels

Scientists have developed an experimental surgical glue inspired by the mucus secreted by slugs that could offer an alternative to sutures and staples for closing wounds.

While some medical glues already exist, they often adhere weakly, are not particularly flexible and frequently cannot be used in very wet conditions.

To get around those problems, a group of scientists from Harvard and other research centers decided to learn from slugs, which — as well as making slime to glide on — can produce extremely adhesive mucus as a defense mechanism.

The slugs’ trick is to generate a substance that not only forms strong bonds on wet surfaces but also has a matrix that dissipates energy at the point of adhesion, making it highly flexible.

Strong, nontoxic

The man-made version of this tough adhesive is based on the same principles and in a series of experiments reported in the journal Science on Thursday it was shown to adhere strongly to pig skin, cartilage, tissue and organs. It also proved nontoxic to human cells.

In one test, the new glue was used to close a wound in a blood-covered pig’s heart and successfully maintained a leak-free seal after the heart was inflated and deflated tens of thousands of times.

In another case it was applied to a laceration in a rat’s liver and performed just as well as a hemostat, a surgical tool often used in operations to control bleeding.

“There are a variety of potential uses and in some settings this could replace sutures and staples, which can cause damage and be difficult to place in certain situations,” said researcher David Mooney, professor of bioengineering at Harvard.

Mussel-inspired glue

Mooney and colleagues envisage the new adhesive will be made in sheets and cut to size, although they have also developed an injected version for closing deep wounds. The injection would be hardened using ultraviolet light, like dental fillings.

It is not the first time that scientists have taken inspiration from nature to devise a better medical adhesive.

Four years ago, another research group developed a glue inspired by the underwater sticking properties of mussels, but Mooney thinks slugs win hands-down in terms of stickiness and flexibility.

The scientists are applying for patents, although it will require a commercial company to then license the technology and take it into the next phase of human clinical trials. (VOA)