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Sake Dean Mahomed: Google Doodle Honours Anglo-Indian Who Opened 1st Indian Restaurant in Britain

Sake Dean Mahomed opened the Hindostanee Coffee House in London's Portman Square in 1810. Later, he introduced the first commercial 'shampooing' bath in England.


Updated:January 15, 2019, 7:47 AM IST
Sake Dean Mahomed: Google Doodle Honours Anglo-Indian Who Opened 1st Indian Restaurant in Britain
Google honours Sake Dean Mahomed with a Doodle

Sake Dean Mahomed, known for introducing shampoo baths to Europe, was honoured by Google Doodle on Tuesday. As an entrepreneur and surgeon, Mahomed is credited with introducing Indian cuisine and Indian therapeutic massages to the west in the early 19th century. The first Indian restaurant in Britain, the Hindostanee Coffee House, was opened by him in 1810.

Born in Bihar's capital Patna in 1759, the renowned entrepreneur was taken under the wing of a British Army officer at the age of 10 after his father died. According to a report, he served as a trainee surgeon in the army of the British East India Company and remained with the unit until 1782, when he resigned from the army and accompanied his benefactor to Britain.

In 1794, Mahomed published The Travels of Dean Mahomed, an autobiographical narrative about his adventures in India. The book recounts his time in the army and describes many important Indian cities and military campaigns, CNet stated. It was on this date in 1794 that Mahomed became the first Indian author to write and publish a book in English.

After moving to London in 1810, Mahomed opened the Hindostanee Coffee House in London's Portman Square. The restaurant was billed as a high-quality dining experience, which was known for the "nobility and Gentry". According to The Epicure's Almanack, then one of the most popular British restaurant guides, said that people enjoyed "the Hookha with real Chilm tobacco and Indian dishes of the highest perfection".

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, he said. However, financial pressures forced the establishment to close two years later.

In 1814, Mahomed moved to the beachside town of Brighton and opened the first commercial "shampooing" bath in England, providing a combination of a steam bath and an Indian therapeutic massage. His business flourished, promising to cure diseases and provide relief from various physical pains.

He was so successful that soon he became known as "Dr. Brighton," with hospitals referring patients to his care. He was also appointed shampooing surgeon to British kings George IV and William IV, the CNet report further stated.

Mahomed died in Brighton in 1851, between the ages of about 91 and 92.

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| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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