London’s Iconic India Club To Close Doors After 70 Years
Image Credit: Instagram/India Club

There are many places across the world that are tied integrally to India’s history, especially in countries like the United Kingdom, where Indians have settled since colonial times. One such iconic place is the India Club, a landmark in London known for its Indian cuisine. Now, after 70 years of serving the best of Indian cuisine to Londoners and Indians living away from home, India Club is shutting its doors.  

Located in The Strand in central London, India Club was established in the early 1950s by members of the Indian League, a Britain-based group of Indian freedom fighters who advocated against British rule in India. So, the history of India Club is intricately linked with the Indian freedom movement. The restaurant itself is even now adorned with portraits of Indian leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and many others. 

A report in the BBC suggests that India Club has been fighting against closure for years now. The current owners, Yadgar Marker and his daughter, Phiroza Marker ran a campaign to keep the place running a few years back and managed to save the place for the time being. However, Phiroza Marker recently told the press that September 17, 2023 will be the last day the India Club will serve customers. 

Formally set up in 1951 under the leadership of VK Krishna Menon, the founding members of India Club included Jawaharlal Nehru, Lady Edwina Mountbatten and Chandran Tharoor, Shashi Tharoor’s father. Naturally, India Club has been known for decades for its South Indian specials like Masala Dosa, Sambar, Podi and more. The iconic restaurant also served Indian non-vegetarian delicacies like Bhuna Lamb, Prawn Pakoras and Butter Chicken. Filter Coffee and Masala Chai are as popular as local beers and whiskeys. 

Frequented by Londoners and Indians alike, India Club has provided many with a home away from home. "For many students, journalists and travellers, it was a home away from home, offering simple and good quality Indian food at affordable prices as well as a convivial atmosphere to meet and maintain friendships," Shashi Tharoor said in a post dedicated to India Club on X.  

As mentioned before, India Club has been providing Indians in the UK with Indian cuisine delicacies since the day it opened its doors. With its décor reflecting that of pre-Independence Indian coffee houses and canteens, India Club even today evokes national pride and nostalgia for Indians. The news that the place is shutting down has therefore come as a huge blow to many.