In the UK, thousands of miles away from the land of its birth and the influences that shaped it, Indian food is a six- billion pound industry. Between supermarkets, takeaways and restaurants, a vast amount of Indian food is sold on a daily basis.
The history of Indian food in the UK is now the best part of four hundred years old. As the interest in Great Britain grew in India, so did the influences of Indian food and culture back in the UK. The first Indian restaurant opened in London in 1809 and was called Hindostanee Coffee House (like many ’coffee houses’ back then, it did not serve coffee but was just cashing in on a popular name of the time).
Indian Restaurants Invade U.K.
The first recorded Indian restaurant of the twentieth century was called the Salut e Hind, opened in 1911 in Holborn. The Shafi was opened in 1920 in what is now Chinatown, and became almost a community amongst Indian students. These restaurants were opened mainly for Asians. However, the opening of Veeraswamy in 1926 in Regent Street saw the start of fashionable Indian restaurants, which were soon to start popping up all over London. However, Veeraswamy is one of the only ones that is still thriving today and remains as popular as ever.
The fifties and sixties saw a huge influx of Indian restaurants, especially in London and the South East. To this day, these areas remain the most popular for Indian cuisine, with over 45% of the country’s Indian restaurants located here.
Over time, the Indian restaurant concept spread all over the UK, even though the owners of these restaurants were not always Indian. In the early seventies, at least 75% of ’Indian’ restaurants were run by Pakistanis.
The British experience of Indian cuisine has come a long way since the days when it was made with curry powder and sultanas. As more Asian people have become part of British society, more and more people are having the opportunity to eat in their homes or restaurant and discover the joys of genuine Indian food.
Indian Restaurant Extensive Degree of Achievements
Restaurants have become much more sophisticated, especially Indian restaurants in London. It is now quite common for the capital’s Indian restaurants to specialise in regional food from various parts of India. Meanwhile, a genuinely British-Indian strand of cooking has developed. So many cuisines are moulding and merging, and continuously evolving. Curry, like everything else, is subject to the process of change, developing in order to remain accessible, popular and relevant.
Innovation draws from tradition. In terms of Indian cuisine, a sound, deep-rooted comprehension of techniques and spices is fundamental to any successful innovation.
Sometimes it is necessary to deconstruct traditional curries into their essential components before building them up again, creating layers of texture and flavours.
It is important to embrace both classic and contemporary Indian food, and that is what we strive to do at all of our London-based Indian restaurants.