Like all solid relationships, the one between India and Britain is long and complex. Colonial rule has left its scars, but on the whole today the two countries not only enjoy but devour each other’s culture and way of life. The first major wave of Indians arriving in the UK was in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, often as sailors, servants or nannies but also as students and professionals. In the 1960s and ’70s large numbers of people of Indian origin emigrated to the UK from East Africa as British passport holders.
Today, London is home to over half a million British Indians, making us the largest ethnic group in the capital. The Indian diaspora is extremely well integrated everywhere from medicine and finance to food, fashion, politics, media and the creative industries. All of which means that to experience the very finest of Indian art and culture outside India, there’s literally no greater city to live in than London. Sona Hathi
Did you know? London’s first Indian restaurant was set up in 1810. Hindoostane Coffee House and its founder Sake Dean Mohamed are remembered with a plaque on George Street in Marylebone.
Sona’s favourite Indian spots in London
Catch some of India’s finest performing and visual artists for free at the beautiful Nehru Centre in Mayfair.
The duck seekh kababs are melt-in-the-mouth good, the wine pairings are spot on and the décor is chic at Trishna in Marylebone.
Dishoom’s Bombay-style breakfasts and bottomless masala chai keep me returning again and again.
Vegetarian restaurant Sagar serves up a range of South Indian dosas, uttapams and thalis with great service.
Amrapali’s antique and heritage jewellery will make you feel like a maharani – or a maharaja!
Venues around the city host South Asian gigs regularly. I rely on the Funoon London website to keep me updated.
The best of Indian London, according to you
‘Talli Joe is a favourite: Indian dishes with a twist. I love the truffle kulcha stuffed with cottage cheese in particular.’ Saleha R via Facebook
‘On Ealing Road in Wembley you can visit a temple, go to the sari shops to buy an outfit and eat at all the street food vendors. It’s like a mini India!’ Sheetal M via www.timeout.com
‘Vijay’s Chawalla on Green Street: it’s so good!’ Amrita LC via Facebook
‘Jai Durga Mahal in North Harrow. Worth the journey to Zone 5.’ @p44v9n via Twitter