An introduction to Indian & Pakistani food

It is widely known that Indian and Pakistani food is a favourite for so many people across the world, but even more so in London. They can be defined as complex cuisines because of their cultural and historical influences and their evolution over the decades, or should we say centuries. The vibrant coloured curries, the versatile lentils, the aromas of the spices as they are mixed in, and of course, the delicious naans and desserts that start and finish every meal. 


The differences between Indian and Pakistani cuisine

With little difference between the two, Indian and Pakistani food can come across as very similar, and very few know the difference as both share similar ingredients and styles of cooking. But there are differences. Indian cuisine has a range of vegetarian dishes, and Pakistani cuisine is more focused on meat dishes. Over the years, India has had huge influences from Portugal, China and various other countries, whereas Pakistan has been influenced by Persian and Afghan cooking. The latter also tends to use fewer spices unlike the intricate masalas of Indian cooking who tend to prefer spicier dishes. 

In the UK, as mentioned above, these cuisines are widely famous with most of the country’s population but to really understand how this profound love found its way to Britain, one must turn their attention to when it was first introduced to the people of this country. To make it easier for you, think about over 200 years ago – yeah, that’s right! In 1810 was the first time that London was introduced to their first Indian restaurant, Hindoostane Coffee House, which was owned by Sake Dean Mohammed, a Bengali captain of the British East Indian Company. As a capitalist at heart, he jumped on the demand for delicious spices that had emerged as a result of the crusaders who brought home cultural gifts and spices after the war. 

Unfortunately, the restaurant didn’t see much success and the hope of bringing Indian food to the forefront of the aristocrats’ minds wasn’t as simple as he had imagined. This, however, became possible years later, in the 20th century with the curry house boom. 

The Britain Curry House Explosion

This curry house boom was first introduced to Britain in the 1970s by the Sylheti sailors from Bangladesh, who knew only of their love for food and their need of supporting their families. After many successful restaurants, we had ourselves the East End community of London that served the best curries in town. This soon led to many famous Indian restaurants opening, some of which are still around such as Veeraswamy in Piccadilly! It is safe to say that this restaurant revolutionized Indian food for years to come and became the trendy and stylish spot to be seen at! Fast forward to years later, in 2001, Chicken Tikka Masala was also declared as Britain’s National Dish. 

Indian & Pakistani Cuisine in 2021

Today, in the modern world of 2021, we are spoiled for choice with the introduction of Modern Indian fine dining becoming a thing too – a cuisine that has various influences of different cultures, cuisines and traditions. 

However, at Royal Mahal, we are passionate about ensuring our menu and taste is representative for what we stand for and what our customers are looking for. We aim to continuously bring the authentic taste of India and Pakistan to the people of this country, who appreciate the cultural significance and the journey they are taken on. Where many restaurants and brands explore new waters, we take pride in maintaining consistency in our exceptional service and exquisite taste of these complicated and rich cuisines that intertwine to bring you the best of both worlds.

Modern dishes with a twist at Royal Mahal

Want some recommendations for modern dishes to try at Royal Mahal?

At our restaurant in Tooting South London, we have a range of contemporary dishes that all are adapted from dishes from India and Pakistan. Our chefs have over 12 years of experience serving authentic and delectable dishes, and each dish is made with love and care. We have added our own, Royal Mahal takes to a selection of our dishes, which are a must-have! We want to ensure we bring a fine blend of luxury, taste and Indian aura to London. Our promise is a feast for all your senses, and we have a range of dishes with a variety of aromas and styles:

Dynamite Chicken / Prawns

Fiery and pungent, our dynamite range is exquisite and the ideal side dish to accompany your main curry or biryani.

Masala chips 

Royal Mahal’s take on sweet, spice and all things nice! Not just your usual side of chips, add that kick to your dish.

Chilli paneer

Not one for the faint-hearted, we use a range of chillies and spices to add some oomph to your main course! Succulent paneer, spices and vegetables in a delightful mix.

Masala fish

Masala sauce is a hugely popular sauce, and we marinate our cod in it, and then deep fry for that extra flavour kick!

Gol Gappe

Our infamous small, street food appetizer is the perfect entrant to your feast. With pani puri, and a spicy tangy, delicious chutney and sweet water, this is a hugely popular dish at Royal Mahal.