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Kismet Restaurant Stoke

1a, Queen St
Burslem
Stoke-On-Trent
Staffordshire ST6 3EL

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The Kismet Restaurant - Stoke on Trent Staffordshire

The Kismet Restaurant Burslem - What's in the media

TIFFIN CUP 2016

 

 

TASTY: The Kismet restaurant, in Burslem, wowed judges with their top quality curries to finish runners up in the West Midlands final of the Tiffin Cup. It’s an annual British competition to find the best South Asian restaurant in the UK. Pictured are co-owners and cousins, Kobir Ahmed, left, and Salauddin Ahmed, right, with MP Ruth Smeeth, who eats at the restaurant, as they receive a certificate and embroidered Tiffin Cup 2016 apron to mark their achievement. Salauddin Ahmed, aged 37, said: “We always aim to deliver the best food and customer service that we can.”Ruth Smeeth said: “It is very well deserved."

 

 

 

No 10 - Burslem 1/1a Queen Street
Kismet, the Potteries first Indian Restaurant

 

'Revolution'

 

1/1a Queen Street: Bennett’s ‘Steam Printing Works’,
and home of the Kismet, the Potteries’ First Indian Restaurant

 

In 1962, there was revolution in the air. Post-war paranoia and anti-communist sentiments in the west manifested itself in the Caribbean, where Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro took the world to the brink of Nuclear War as the Cuban Missile Crisis threatened to plunge the Northern Hemisphere into Armageddon. The whole world held its breath as the three men played Russian Roulette.

 

At the same time in Sleepy London Town, another revolution was in the making. A bunch of young urchins in the capital who were getting their kicks listening to American blues, R ‘n B, and rock ‘n roll got together to form their own band. Thrashing out numbers by Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Elmore James, and rocking audiences in clubs such as the Crawdaddy in the capital, the Rolling Stones soon gathered a loyal following, and hooked-up with an ambitious young entrepreneur, Andrew Loog Oldham, who cast an admiring eye north to Liverpool and what Brian Epstein was achieving with the Beatles. 

 

Within 12 months, the Stones were the greasy, long-haired antithesis of the funny, mop-topped Beatles, an image cultivated by Oldham (“would you let your daughter go with a Rolling Stone?”), with early hits such as the Lennon/McCartney-penned 
'I Wanna Be Your Man'. Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts turned on a generation, and enraged their parents and the Establishment.

 

As the world stared down the barrel of a gun whilst wigging out to the Beatles and the Stones, another sort of revolution was taking place in the Potteries, and in particular Burslem.

The Mother Town and the city were undergoing change. Post-war modernisation had seen changes to the city’s traditional industries, and successive Governments encouraged immigration from the British Empire, which saw arrivals from far flung places such as Jamaica, Pakistan, and India. 

This led to a culinary revolution in the Potteries: 

the Ahmed family arrived in Stoke-on-Trent from Bangladesh, and went on to open the Kismet – the first Indian restaurant in the city – on Queen Street in Burslem.

They opened their restaurant in a building made famous by Potteries’ novelist Arnold Bennett, 1/1a Queen Street, which was the Steam Printing Works in Bennett’s novel The Clayhanger. The three storey building stands proud at the junction of Queen Street and Waterloo Road, looking like Wedgwood’s Big House’s less well-off cousin.

 

Fast forward a decade to 1972, the Beatles had split, Kennedy had had his head blown off and Richard Nixon was running the States like his own private fiefdom, and after years of being hounded by the Establishment and its police force, and with founder member Brian Jones resting in peace, the Stones were ran out of the country by the Taxman, clearing off to the south of France where they topped their late 60s/early 70s hot streak of Beggar’s Banquet, Let it Bleed, and Sticky Fingers with the headsplitting double-album Exile on Main Street. The Stones were seen as crazed, outlaw junkies, with Keith Richards the epitome of a culture of decadence.

 

Though I would never advocate the use of hard drugs, they never seemed to be a problem for Richards: after locking himself in a bathroom with a bag of cocaine, he came up with Gimme Shelter, the first eight bars of which is possibly the greatest intro to a rock ‘n roll track of all time. This four album blast by the Stones, coupled with some legendary, and some disastrous shows – such as the blood-splattered Altamont gig – alongside the demise of the Beatles, saw the Stones firmly established as the world’s premiere rock ‘n roll band.

 

Just as the Stones were firmly established as the world’s greatest rock ‘n roll band, the Kismet was established as Stoke-on-Trent’s greatest Indian restaurant, and a keystone of nightlife in the Mother Town. 

Stokies raised on oatcakes and cheese were now enjoying the finest of Indian cuisine thanks to the tireless Ahmed family, who fast became admired and popular members of the business community, due to their warm and friendly personalities. In an era characterised by suspicion of immigrants, suspicions that were heightened by right wing scaremongers such as Enoch Powell – who predicted troubles with his infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech – the Ahmed family worked hard and with dignity to establish their business, and at the same time embrace their new home. The Ahmed family were pioneers, and helped pave the way for others to follow.

I'm a huge fan of the Rolling Stones. During the Brian Jones-era, the Stones produced some iconic, legendary singles such as The Last Time, Satisfaction, and Paint It, Black, before going on to hit even greater heights with the albums mentioned above that included tracks such as Street Fighting Man, the aforementioned Gimme Shelter, and hit singles such as Honky Tonk Women, Brown Sugar, and Tumbling Dice.

I'm also a huge fan of the Kismet. The building itself is nothing special, but is quiet and dignified, overlooking Swan Square. The Kismet is important to Burslem and its economy; the Mother Town is – once again – being touted as a tourist destination, and so policy makers at the Civic Centre should note the importance of the place, and other restaurants in the town too.

But the main reason that the Kismet is so important is exactly what it is there for: the grub. I don’t think I’ve ever come out of the place not feeling and looking like an over-inflated football. The food is second-to-none, is cooked properly, and the prices are extremely reasonable. 

Not at all like some over-priced ‘food pubs’ who I won’t care to mention, where your meals are often microwaved and you are made to feel grateful for what you have received by an underpaid and miserable teenager. And the service at the Kismet is superb, with a warm and friendly welcome from the Ahmed family. 

 

As well as yours truly, the Kismet can count Burslem’s legendary darts superstar Phil Taylor, and LA-based Port Vale supporter and Potteries-born popstar Robbie Williams as fans.

 

The Kismet: the Potteries First Indian restaurant

 

In recent years, the Ahmed’s have expanded their business, taking on a vacant sandwich shop next door, and the restaurant now seats 110 people, and boasts a private function room following successful works under the excellent Burslem Townscape Heritage Initiative. The Kismet is a great Potteries success story, and the Ahmed family are a great example of how immigrants make a positive contribution to the city and the nation: Sala Ahmed and his cousin Kobir are the third generation of family members to take on the business, and Sala recently told the Sentinel how proud he was of his and his families contribution to Burslem: 

 

"A lot of the staff who work at other restaurants in the area have also worked at the Kismet in the past, so they have learnt their trade here and then gone on to open their own businesses".

 

The Ahmed Family: Potteries Pioneers 

 

And now in 2012, both the Rolling Stones and the Kismet are still going strong, and have both celebrated their 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the Kismet have launched a new menu; by contrast, the Stones have released a new single Doom and Gloom, and have trousered a reported £16million for four London gigs, a far cry from their humble beginnings on Eel Pie Island.

 

The Kismet and the Ahmed family have grown stronger and aged gracefully; despite protestations to the contrary, the Stones’ best days are probably behind them, with Sir Michael Phillip Jagger now as much a part of the Establishment that tried to break them, much to the annoyance of the indestructible Keith Richards (“how can you accept a knighthood from those bastards, man? They tried to lock us up”).

 

The Stones haven’t ventured into the Potteries since a 1960s gig at the Victoria Hall. Perhaps Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie should pay another visit, and stop off at the Kismet. Maybe then Jagger wouldn’t have to sing about not getting any satisfaction.

 

 

Thanks to Dave Proudlove
www.thepotteries.org

 

Charity curry night in Burslem for Staffordshire Police Cycle Challenge

 

Kismet NEWS in Burslem - Stoke on Trent

WHAT A CURRY ON: A charity curry night took place in Burslem to raise money for police officers who are taking part in a 900-mile cycle challenge.

Kismet hosted the event last night in aid of the Bobbies on Bikes for Kids challenge.

Eighteen police officers from Staffordshire Police are hoping to raise £22,000 by cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats.

The team – who will embark on the challenge in September – will donate the funds to Caudwell Children to help them fund their annual Destination Dreams trip. Proceeds from the curry night were donated to Staffordshire Police as part of their fund-raising bid.

 

 

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

THE Potteries' oldest Indian restaurant is today celebrating 50 years of dishing up curries.

Kismet in Burslem - Stoke on Trent

Which is acclaimed for its tasty baltis and flavoursome kormas, first opened in Burslem in 1962.

 

FAMILY AFFAIR: From left, Sala Ahmed, Ala Ahmed and Kobir Ahmed outside the Kismet in Burslem. Pictures: Phil Radcliffe

 

 

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."



 

Fantastic Restaurant

Have been going to the Kismet numerous time over the last 2 years and both me and my partner feel this is the best Indian Restaurant in the area.Staff are very polite and friendly.Fantastic Food.We are always recomending this Restaurant to everyone.Best Indian Restaurant around!

 

www.urbanspoon.com

 

Fantastic Restaurant

Have been going to the Kismet numerous time over the last 2 years and both me and my partner feel this is the best Indian Restaurant in the area.Staff are very polite and friendly.Fantastic Food.We are always recomending this Restaurant to everyone.Best Indian Restaurant around!

 

www.urbanspoon.com

 

Kismet Restaurant

Been visiting the Kismet for over 20 years and can honestly say never had a bad experience. The choice on the menu is great, the food is delicious and the staff could not be friendlier or more accomodating. For a great indian meal...

 

www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk

 

Kismet shortlisted for the Indian Restaurant Of The Year title.

Kismet is, after all, the venue that first brought the tantalising flavours and aromas of the Subcontinent to Stoke-on-Trent. Opened in 1962 and still going strong, the Burslem restaurant is a venerable pioneer in a rapidly growing and changing market.

It remains a popular eating place, and I don't doubt that its devoted clientele includes some who were there to sample the piquant cuisine which Kismet introduced the Potteries in the year when The Beatles first hit the charts with Love Me Do.

It has a smartly turned out team of affable waiters serving a range of dishes, many familiar and some less so – I was much impressed by the fish tikka masala.

 

this is Staffordshire

 

Eating Out: The Kismet Restaurant, Burslem

Lynne Allmark, aged 47, is a carer from Southern Way, Smallthorne. Her favourite restaurant is The Kismet, Burslem, where she goes with her boyfriend Ken, aged 53 and daughter Vicky, aged 14. THE Kismet does a mixture of both Indian and English food, which I like because it caters to everyone. I love a good curry, but my boyfriend is not too keen, so I can have whatever Indian food I want and he can choose something from the English part of the menu, so for us it's perfect. The restaurant itself is nice and clean and the atmosphere is good in there. It's just had a big re-vamp so it looks really nice and modern inside and it's not tacky at all, but saying that I always used to go there even before the restoration because the food has always been top notch and it's only about £10, which I think is very reasonable for the quality and portions. I've never had a bad meal there since the first time I went 32 years ago with my friends when we all left school. It's the same quality now as it was then. The staff there are brilliant as well. They always look smart and are very helpful and polite and make a point of remembering you when you go in. There's a nice range of drinks as well and it's a child-friendly place. My teenage daughter loves going there and she's a really fussy eater. I'd recommend it to anyone.  

 

this is Staffordshire

 


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