A Brief History of Indian Food in Britain

The history of Indian food in Britain is now almost 400 years old.

The story starts with the arrival in Surat of the English merchants from the East India Company in 1608 and then with more success in 1612.

As the influence of the British in India grew, so too did the interest of Indian food back in Britain.

The first appearance of curry on a menu was at the Coffee House in Norris Street, Haymarket, London in 1773. This lead to a gradual increase of Indian food nationwide in Britain.

To date, over half of the 10,000 Indian restaurants in Britain are owned and managed by Bangladeshis, these being mainly located in the south of England.

In Birmingham, however,the situation is different with the number of Bangladeshis restaurateurs decreasing and Pakistani owners increasing.

By the time you reach Bradford and Manchester, the restaurateurs are almost entirely Pakistani, Kashmiri and North Indian.

Once you reach Glasgow, the concentration is almost entirely Punjabi, as it is in the Southall and Wembley areas of London.

British Indian Restaurant food of the future

The experimental cooking phenomenon headed by chefs like Gordon Ramsey has swept across Britain recently. People seem more confident to create new dishes and the same goes with Indian chefs.

A new generation of capable and aware chefs are starting to experiment within their ingredients and a lot of new dishes are being created. Some are so good that they’re appearing on menus back home!

The tastes of the customers have changed with more and more people steering away from the Kurma and Massala dishes, eating more savoury dishes like Murghi Pasanda Dansak or Methi Gusth Jalfrezi and Silsila.