The Veeraswamy Restaurant was established by Edward Palmer in 1926 in Regent Street. Palmer was a retired Indian Army officer and in 1924-5 had run the Indian section at the British Empire Exhibition, Wembley, where his company, E. P. Veeraswamy & Co., Indian Food Specialists, sold spices, chutneys and curry pastes at the café.

Palmer's grandfather, William Palmer, was married to an Indian woman (who may have been named Veeraswamy) and founded the banking house Palmer & Co. in Hyderabad in the late eighteenth century. Edward Palmer's great-grandfather also served in India and married the Indian princess Begum Fyze Baksh.

Veeraswamy's waiters were imported from India and the food was firmly Raj: duck vindaloo and Madras curry. One of its employees was Nawab Ali, who went on to found other Indian restaurants throughout the UK. It catered to Anglo-Indians, retired civil servants, fashionable Londoners, and royalty such as the Prince of Wales and the Prince of Denmark.

The British tradition of drinking beer with a curry is said to have originated at Veeraswamy's when the Prince of Denmark visited and decided to send a barrel of Carlsberg to the restaurant every Christmas thereafter.

In 1935, the restaurant was sold to Sir William Steward, who ran the place for forty years. Veeraswamy's is still in existence today.

Published works: 

Veeraswamy, E. P., Indian Cookery: For Use in All Countries (London: Herbert Joseph, 1936)

Secondary works: 

Adams, Caroline, Across Seven Seas and Thirteen Rivers: Life Stories of Pioneer Sylhetti Settlers in Britain (London: THAP, 1987)

Basu, Shrabani, Curry in the Crown (London: Indus, 1999)

Basu, Shrabani, Curry: The Story of the Nation's Favourite Dish (Stroud: Sutton, 2003)

Choudhury, Yousuf, The Roots and Tales of the Bangladeshi Settlers (Birmingham: Sylheti Social History Group, 1993)

Choudhury, Yousuf, Sons of the Empire: Oral History from the Bangladeshi Seamen who Served on British Ships during the 1939-45 War (Birmingham: Sylheti Social History Group, 1995)

Collingham, Elizabeth M., Curry: A Biography (London: Chatto & Windus, 2005)

Grove, Peter, and Grove, Colleen, Curry Culture (London: Collins & Brown, 2003)

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto Press, 2002)

Date began: 
01 Jan 1926
Precise date began unknown: 


101 Regent Street
London, W1B 4RS
United Kingdom
Involved in events details: 
Subscribe to RSS - spice