Google is celebrating Sake Dean Mahomed, an Anglo-Indian traveller and businessman with roots in Bihar, with an honourary doodle. Born in Patna in 1759, Mahomed was among the very early migrants to England from India, who also set up the first Indian restaurant in the UK. Hindoostane Dinner and Hooka Smoking Club was established by Mahomed in 1809 at Portman Square in London.
However, the venture did not last long as Mahomed declared bankruptcy in 1812. His restaurant struggled on as the ‘Hindostanee Coffee House’ under a new management for another 20 years, and finally disappeared in 1833.
In June last year, a mouth-watering menu from the restaurant containing exclusive dishes like ‘Pineapple Pullaoo’ and ‘Chicken Currey’ was sold for $11,344.
A soldier in the East India Company’s Bengal regiment, Mahomed went on to migrate to Ireland to study English and converted to Anglicism in the early 19th century to marry Jane Daly. Besides launching the Indian culinary scene in the UK, Mahomed was reportedly also the first Indian author to write in English.
His travel memoir, titled ‘The Travels of Dean Mahomed’, was published in 1794, after which he was famously known as ‘The Shampooning Surgeon of Britain’.
In the book, he describes ‘champing’ or shampooing’, in which the client “lies, at full length, on a couch or sopha [sic], on which the operator chafes or rubs his limbs, and cracks the joints of the wrist and fingers.” Mahomed’s latest business idea landed him rich clients, including George IV and William IV. As a masseuse for the elite and an entrepreneur and writer, Mohamed breathed his last in England in 1851.