Dean Mahomet: The founder of First Curry in UK

Sake Dean Mahomed

Sheik Dean Mahomet is credited with being the first Indian to open a Curry House in UK in the year 1810 and it was called Hindoostane Coffee House. It was situated in George Street of central London. It introduced Hookah in England and served Indian culinary dishes. The premises is now a building called Carlton House. To many who are now part of the city’s expansive curry house business, Mahomet was a pioneer. Mr Mahomed’s plan had been to serve “Indianised” British food which would appeal to the Indian aristocracy in London as well as British people who had returned from India.

Portrait of Sake Dean Mahomed (1759-1851), Bri...

“The Indian aristocracy however would not come out to eat in the restaurant because they had chefs at home cooking more authentic food – it was just not a big enough draw to come out.”

He was born in 1759 in Patna then in the Bengal Presidency. He joined the East India Company Army when he was 11 years old. He rose to the rank of captain in the Army. He fought in a number of campaigns and the book is based on his experiences in the army. He resigned from the army in 1782 and two years later arrived in Ireland. He is also the first Indian writer to be published in English. The book was called Travels of Dean Mahomet.

He later moved to Portman Square where he became an assistant to Sir Basil Cochrane at his vapour bath. This is where he is said to have added an Indian treatment, champi (shampooing) or therapeutic massage, to Cochrane’s bath which became very fashionable.

He died in 1851 and was buried in St Nicholas’ churchyard in Brighton.

He was honored for his achievements in 2005. The plaque, which celebrates the achievements of former Westminster residents, was unveiled on Thursday.

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