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Kismet, Potteries' oldest Indian restaurant, celebrates 50th birthday

The restaurant has never moved from its home on Queen Street, Burslem, since being set up by Athur Rahman, who moved to England from Bangladesh.

He chose Burslem as the place for the city's first curry house because of how busy the town was in the 1960s, both in the day and at night.

It is now owned by 74-year-old Ala Uddin Ahmed and ran by cousins Sala Ahmed and Kobir Ahmed, the third generation of family members to take on the business.

Ala, who has owned the restaurant for 45 years, said: "I was very honoured and extremely happy to receive the certificate from the Lord Mayor and Mohammed Pervez."

To mark the anniversary, a presentation was held in the Mayor's Parlour at the Civic Centre yesterday, in recognition of the long-standing business.

When the restaurant opened, The Beatles had just released their first record Love Me Do. Stoke City and Crewe Alex went on to win promotion from their respective divisions, but Port Vale missed out by one position.

Sala, aged 33, of Norton Heights, said he was proud to work at the restaurant which started a gastronomic revolution in the Mother Town.

He said: "We are lucky in the sense that we have a loyal customer base. A lot of the staff who work at other restaurants in the area have also worked at Kismet in the past, so they have learnt their trade here and then gone on to open their own businesses.

"There's a lot more competition out there these days and in Burslem alone you have six or seven other Indian restaurants."

The restaurant is planning on unveiling a new menu on October 22, which will boast up to 10 new dishes.

It expanded into a bakery next door around five years ago and now has nine staff members.

Sala said: "We have never had to rely on offers in the past because our customers know what they will get and have kept coming back, but we thought we would so something to mark the 50th anniversary, as a way of saying thank you. Steaks are still very popular but we have noticed that hot dishes are becoming more and more popular. Some of the dishes I couldn't even have myself but the customers really enjoy them.

"We get a lot of councillors coming to eat here and the MP Joan Walley comes quite often. Phil Taylor also comes in now and then and we used to get Robbie Williams coming here before Take That took off.

"In the past people would eat a lot later but we are finding that isn't the case so much these days and our rush period is usually between 7pm and 9pm."

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