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Home / India News / Menu of first Indian restaurant in UK auctioned for £8,500

Menu of first Indian restaurant in UK auctioned for £8,500

Patna-born Sake Dean Mohamed opened the first Indian restaurant in UK at George Street in London 200 years ago. Now, its menu comprising spicy dishes such as pineapple pulao has been auctioned for £8,500.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2018 18:38 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
The handwritten menu of the Hindostanee Coffee House, set up near Portman Square in 1810, was sold by Jarndyce Antiquarian Books at the ABA Rare Book Fair that ended in London on Saturday.
The handwritten menu of the Hindostanee Coffee House, set up near Portman Square in 1810, was sold by Jarndyce Antiquarian Books at the ABA Rare Book Fair that ended in London on Saturday.(Reuters/Photo for representation)

More than 200 years after Patna-born Sake Dean Mohamed opened the first Indian restaurant in the United Kingdom at George Street in London, its menu comprising spicy dishes such as pineapple pulao has been auctioned for £8,500.

The handwritten menu of the Hindostanee Coffee House, set up near Portman Square in 1810, was sold by Jarndyce Antiquarian Books at the ABA Rare Book Fair that ended in London on Saturday.

Organisers tweeted that the menu included more than 25 dishes, including chicken and lobster curries and a selection of breads, chutneys and dishes considered “too numerous for insertion”.

Born in 1759, Mohamed was one of the first Indian immigrants to Britain. In colonial Bihar, he served in the army of the East India Company before travelling to London in 1782 and introducing shampoo to Britain. He also wrote a book, The Travels of Dean Mahomet, considered the first book by an Indian author in English.

A plaque was unveiled in September 2005 at 102, George Street, close to the original site of his restaurant at 34, George Street, by the city of Westminster.

Mohamed is credited with opening the first Indian restaurant, but according to author Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, the first Indian takeaway was launched by one Sarah Shade, who went to India in 1796, was caught up in wars, imprisoned in Mysore, learned to cook in captivity and returned to open the takeaway.

Indian food in Britain has a longer history. In 1747 Hannah Close, a working-class woman, wrote a cookbook packed with Indian recipes. Soon after, Sorlie’s warehouse in Piccadilly started selling curry powder, which could be ordered and sent by post.

Indian food has since grown to be a major industry in Britain that employs thousands of people. Indian dishes have been customised to the British palate, and at least one so-called Indian dish is a British invention: the chicken tikka masala, termed by former foreign secretary Robin Cook as ‘Britain’s true national dish’.

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