Menu of Britain’s Oldest Indian Restaurant Auctioned for £8,500

The Hindoostane Coffee House was established by Sake Dean Mahomed in 1810 at Portman Square in London.


The 200-year-old first menu of Britain’s oldest Indian restaurant, called Hindoostane Coffee House, has been sold for a sum of £8,500. The restaurant, which was the first eatery to offer Indian cuisine in Britain, had over 25 dishes featured on the menu.

The list of delicacies included ‘chicken and lobster curries,’ ‘pineapple pullaoo,’ and an array of breads, chutneys and dishes ‘too numerous for insertion.’

The list, which was handwritten, was sold recently by Jarndyce Antiquarian Books at the ABA Rare Book Fair, held by Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association from May 24-26 in London, Mail Online reported.

Sake Dean Mahomed portrait from Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton and Hove

The restaurant was established by Sake Dean Mahomed in 1810 in Portman Square, London. Mahomed was born as Sheikh Din Muhammad in 1759 in Bihar (a part of Bengal at that time). He was a Bengali surgeon and a captain in the British East India Company. He joined the East India Company army at the age of 11 years and went on to rise to the rank of a captain.

In 2005, the restaurant was honored with a green plaque celebrating the achievements of former Westminster residents. Mahomed was also known for introducing therapeutic massage or “shampooing” to the United Kingdom. He was also the first Indian writer who was published in English, the BBC reported.

In 1810, Mahomed opened the Hindoostane Coffee House that served Hooka, various Indian curries and other dishes. The premises is now a building called Carlton House.

“Indian dishes of the highest perfection. Allowed by the greatest epicures to be unequalled to any curries ever made in England,” the restaurant’s advertisement stated, Outlook reported.

The concept introduced by Mahomed influenced more than 1,000 Indian restaurants in the decades to come. The Indian curry has now became a part of British food.

“There were other restaurants serving ‘Indian’ food before Sake Dean Mahomed’s Hindoostane Coffee House, but his was the first to be run by an Indian,” the Muslim Museum Initiative’s website says.

Mahomed announced his intentions to start the restaurant with an advertisement in The Morning Post in February 1810. “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,” the advertisement stated, Londonist reported. The Hindoostane Dinner and Hooka Smoking Club then began to be known as the Hindoostane Coffee House.

The restaurant also provided home deliveries. However, in 1811, Mahomed was forced to sell it since it was not fetching him enough money. It remained open under a different ownership until 1833, as per the Londonist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *