barra asks: When did the first Indian Takeaway/Restaurant open in the UK Where in the UK was it
The Hindostanee Coffee House was designed 'for the Nobility and Gentry where they might enjoy the Hookha with real Chilm tobacco and Indian dishes of the highest perfection'. Whether or not the Nobility and Gentry made use of the restaurant, there was a small Indian community in the capital, including over 1400 Bengali lascars (seamen), as well as a growing number of returned 'India hands' (Britons who had lived in the sub-Continent).
But it was not to be. The Hindostanee Coffee House closed in 1812, leaving Mohammad bankrupt. (His adventures were far from over - read more on him here).
What happened next
The Indian population in Britain grew slowly through the 19th century, consisting mainly of students and sailors. Serving this small group were a series of small London restaurants, some hardly worthy of the name. In 1911 the Salut e Hind appeared in Holborn, and The Shafi appeared in Gerard Street in 1920, opened by Mohammed Wayseem and Mohammed Rahim.
The oldest surviving Indian restaurant in the UK is Veeraswamy, in London's Regent Street. It was opened in 1926 by an Englishman, Edward Palmer, who claimed descent from both Princess Veera, a Mughul Princess, and a British General. An immediate success with London society - all 'swishy curtains, arched ceilings, turbanned waiters and a bedecked hostess' - the Veeraswamy served all the famous names of the day. And it's going strong to this day.
And there's more
That's the first Indian restaurants dealt with but there are a few more 'firsts' to consider.
Britain's national dish
Indian restaurants in the UK sell 23 million portions of Chicken Tikka Masala every year. Sainsbury's sell 1,600,000 'CTM' meals every year. But where does it come from
Chicken Tikka Masala is old hat. I'm a balti fan
Balti comes from the West Midlands - not Baltistan. And the first balti restaurant Pretty much every restaurant within 30 miles of the Bull Ring claims the title, but informed locals suggest you might like to make your way to the Al Faisal in Balsall Heath, or Balti Dave's in Lye, near Stourbridge.
A final thought:
There are more people employed in Indian restaurants in the UK than in the steel, coal and ship building industries combined.