A FAMILY-run Indian restaurant housed in a beautiful period cottage in the heart of Ringwood is celebrating its 40th birthday this month.
India Cottage was opened by Muhammed and Momotaz Mannan on October 4 1981 and is now in the hands of their son Sadeq, known as Shad, who unveiled a commemorative plaque to celebrate the milestone and held a party in the new garden area complete with heated beach hut.
Born in Bangladesh, Muhammed arrived in Euston, London in 1963. He met and married Momotaz and the newlyweds moved to the New Forest where they started their family and business.
The couple had five children, Shah, Parvin, Shad, Emran and Nasrin and retired in 1991, passing the business to their business and marketing graduate middle child.
Muhammed told the Daily Echo: “The restaurant was always a big part of our family and we knew it was in safe hands when we handed it over to Shad. With his studies in business, he has taken the restaurant from strength to strength and has been instrumental in making sure that we’re here today celebrating its 40th year.”
It’s been a tough 18 months for India Cottage in line with many other small businesses. But Shad decided to make a positive change to encourage outdoor dining.
He said: “We transformed our car park so we could offer outdoor dining during Covid.
“I wanted to make something really special for our customers so it’s got an open fire, heating and a beach hut where people can connect their own music.
“It’s warm, welcoming, and the perfect setting for nights out with family or friends.”
India Cottage, which is known for its selection of innovative dishes like Indonesian Lamb Curry, Jingha Prawns, Sesame Chilli Chicken and Rack of Lamb, is an important part of the market town, sourcing as much produce as possible locally and supporting other local businesses.
Shad added: “India Cottage is such a huge part of my life, and all my families lives, and we’re incredibly proud of what we’ve built and grown here.
“We’re also really grateful to all our customers and would like to thank them all for supporting us over the last 40 years, and especially over the last 18 months, we wouldn’t be here without you!”
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