Who was E.P. Veerasawmy?
One of the most authorative Anglo-Indian cookery writers of the 20th century went by the name of E.P. Veerasawmy.
Edward Palmer established London’s first high-end Indian restaurant, The Veeraswamy, in 1926 at 101 Regent Street, London. 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 Veerasawmy) and founded the banking house Palmer & Co. in Hyderabad in the late eighteenth century. (Note the Anglicisation of the food business name in the slightly different spelling of the original Indian family name.)
Edward Palmer’s great-grandfather also served in India and married the Indian Princess Begum Fyze Baksh.
Veeraswamy’s waiters were brought over to London from India and the food was firmly Raj, with dishes such as Duck Vindaloo and Madras Curry. One of Veeraswamy’s employees was Nawab Ali, who went on to found other Indian restaurants throughout the UK. The restaurant catered to Anglo-Indians, fashionable Londoners, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, and royalty such as the Prince of Wales and the Prince of Denmark.
In 1935, the restaurant was sold to Sir William Steward, who ran it for the next forty years. Veeraswamy’s is still there today.
More from my collection of the restaurant’s original founder’s recipes will be published on this website under the category ‘ Indian Cookery by E.P. Veerasawmy’.
http://www.open.ac.uk/researchprojects/makingbritain/content/veeraswamys (accessed 26/09/2016)
British Library Learning English Timeline http://www.bl.uk/learning/timeline/item124203.html (accessed 26/09/2016)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veeraswamy (accessed 26/09/2016)