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Category: News

Memsahib's Lounge

2023 – A year in review

What a year it’s been at Memsahib’s Lounge! From hosting supper clubs and masterclasses throughout the year to being on stage at the Cheltenham Food & Drinks Festival in the summer cooking our hearty dish – khichri. A particular highlight was embarking on a heartwarming journey back to my roots in Khulna, Bangladesh, and India as well as a week-long summer school at the University of Oxford, studying Food and Feasting through the Ages.

It’s been a whirlwind of flavours and cultural celebrations. As I reflect on the past year and look to plan for 2024, I’m continually reminded of the mission we embarked on – bridging and celebrating the diverse cultures of the Indian Subcontinent and the UK. Thank you for continuing to allow us to do just that.


Memsahib’s Lounge Spring 2023 Offer

The first few months of the year have been an absolute whirlwind and thanks to you we are going from strength to strength. Just last month we received news that Memsahib’s Lounge is one of the latest restaurants added to the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland! We’re absolutely thrilled and so excited to be part of the guide and listed as one of the Michelin Inspectors’ favourite new restaurants. I can assure you we will be working hard every service to deliver the absolute best Memsahib’s food, drinks and hospitality to you! 

To celebrate we are delighted to offer you, our friends and guests at Memsahib’s Lounge 20% off any Masterclass or Biryani Supper Club booking. The offer will run from Thursday 20th April until the end of Sunday 4th June 2023. Simply add the following code ‘spring20’ when booking either your masterclass or supper club on our website. Please find more details below as well as details of the experiences applicable for the offer. 

Memsahib's Spring Offer

Save 20% off any booking for our Memsahib’s Lounge Gin & Cookery Masterclass or Biryani Supper Club – applicable to any date for the rest of 2023. Use code ‘spring20’. Offer valid from Thursday 20th April 2023 until Sunday 4th June 2023. Please note that should you use the code for our supper club, a 20% reduction will be applied to your deposit ticket of £10 pp and on the night of your supper club we will apply 20% reduction to your supper club ticket of £40 pp. Drinks purchased on the night will not be part of the offer.  

Memsahib’s Masterclass

Book our Memsahib’s Masterclass to create your very own infused gin and learn how to make a delicious Indian dish from our expert Memsahib chefs. There will be ample sampling opportunities, so you can learn in an interactive way and dig into the delights straight away! Following the infusion and cookery masterclass, you will be invited to enjoy a delicious sweet and savoury Memsahib’s Lounge Afternoon Tea (worth £25 pp), inspired by the style of the memsahibs of the British Raj period. 

Biryani Supper Club

Join us on the last Thursday of every month for our Biryani Supper Club in Cheltenham. This is your opportunity to devour a Bangladeshi feast (including as much biryani as you like), delight in our delicious drinks and meet our wonderful chefs, hearing about our culinary heritage first-hand. Originally from Persia, and introduced to the Indian Subcontinent by Mughal rulers, Biryani is a delight to eat and a challenge for chefs to prepare!


The connection between India and Cheltenham

A deep relationship was established between Cheltenham and India over several years. Sadly though, it seems much of this history goes unrecognised today, with many not knowing that Cheltenham was once considered an ‘Anglo-Indian Paradise’, and, outside of London, had the most Anglo-Indian residents in Britain. At the time, these residents regarded the town as a ‘Calcutta in the Cotswolds’, seeing it as a place where they could intermingle and socialise, with it becoming a fashionable place to recuperate. Over time, Cheltenham was deemed a great place for entertainment and retirement. The East India Company received its Royal Charter in 1600 from Queen Elizabeth I, before gradually taking control over India, which resulted in the period of Company rule from 1757 until 1858. After a hundred years or so of dominance, the power of the East India Company ended as a result of the Indian Mutiny of 1857. This caused the demise of the Company, and the commencement of British Crown rule, with the British Raj period beginning. Following this, Lansdown, Montpellier and surrounding areas in Cheltenham became the British base for many Anglo-Indian families.

It is highly likely that there would have been a strong connection between Cheltenham and officers of the Bengal Native Infantry Regiments. The Promenade in Cheltenham is home to the Boer War memorial, which features the names of British Army men who served and died in South Africa and India. Many churches and graveyards in Cheltenham are now also scattered with memorials that represent connections with India and the East India Company. The Anglo-Indian presence in Cheltenham continued into the 20th century, and many buildings of the East India Company can still be seen in the town. The Regents Arcade, now a part of Cheltenham, was once a coaching inn with stables known as the ‘Plough’. Additionally, the Imperial Club, now known as Waterstones’ bookshop, was once a social place where Anglo-Indian members of the Cheltenham and Gloucestershire Club enjoyed delicious curries. Behind Kings House is the Cheltenham Ladies College, where daughters of many Anglo-Indians were educated.

Word has it that Princess Victoria, who was to become the Empress of India, once paid a visit to the Royal Crescent. While the legacy of Empire is a much debated and very divisive topic, it’s suggested that the positive effects of British Rule in India included the establishment of law and order in a divided land, while it also created a civil service that assisted many.

Today, the Indian experience in Cheltenham can most certainly be enjoyed by many, with a number of Anglo-Indian descendants still thought to be living there today. With a large array of Indian restaurants and Indian themed spas (take Ellenborough Park, for example), many Indian traditions are still celebrated and enjoyed widely around the town.