24 January 1957: There must be about a dozen in the Manchester district, at least a hundred in London, and they are spreading over the rest of the country fast
When you have missed the homeward bus, the shops have brilliant windows but locked doors, and the pavements are greasy black with rain a Northern city can be an inhospitable place. Once there was nothing to do and nowhere to go: now there are Indian restaurants.
In the middle of every night, Sunday or weekday, when the cafes and steak houses are shut and their waiters asleep, egg pilao and Madras chicken curry, Bhuna Gosht, Kofta, Jelabi, and Poppadum are coming to birth, filling and astonishing the mouths of those who always miss buses, all over Britain. Provision, naturally, is made for the few who dislike being astonished at table: they can order fried eggs or cups of unsuccessful white coffee tinged with charcoal, but the cooks, temperamentally, cannot put their hearts into a chip. The number of Indian restaurants in this country is hard to discover. There must be about a dozen in the Manchester district. There are certainly at least a hundred in London, and they are spreading over the rest of the country fast, to towns as unlikely as Northampton. Continue reading...