History of Sake Dean Mahomet
Sake Dean Mahomet was born in 1759 in Patna, India
into an elite Muslim family. In 1769, aged 11, when
his father died in 1769, Mahomet fulfilled his
childhood ambition to follow in his father’s
footsteps and joined the military as a camp follower
of Godfrey Baker who was an Irish Cadet.
Despite having risen to the rank of subedar (the
equivalent to a British Lieutenant) as had his
father before him, in 1782 at the age of 23, he left
the army to accompany his “patron” Captain Baker,
who had been dismissed from the service. In1784
Mahomet arrived at Dartmouth and journeyed on to
Ireland where he spent several years with the Baker
family in Cork. It was here that he met his wife,
Jane Daly, who was said to have been from an Irish
family of “rank” and in 1786 they eloped, got
married then returned to Cork where they set up home
and had several children.
Mahomet moved to London around 1807 and took up residence
in Portman Square which was then a fashionable area
popular with well off ex-British administrators in India (nawabs).
In 1809 he opened what is now considered to be the
first Indian restaurant in London - The
Hindoostanee Coffee-House - at 34 George Street,
Portman Square, which was primarily aimed at
Anglo-Indians, being decorated with Indian scenes
and offering Indian dishes which were hailed as
‘unequalled to any curries ever made in England'.
Unfortunately, having over-stretched himself
financially, he was declared a bankrupt in 1812.
He eventually moved to Brighton and opened an Indian
vapour baths and shampooing establishment – a far
cry from a restaurant. He died in February 1851
and was buried in St Nicholas' churchyard in