Aladin’s founder-owner arrived in the UK from Bangladesh in 1976, at the age of 19. A former owner of a clothing workshop, he opened Aladin originally as a café and sweet shop, in 1983. The café deliberately catered for local Bangladeshi customers.
Reflecting on the opening of Aladin, another former Brick Lane restaurateur referred to the place as ‘a new type of restaurant’. He continued:
‘…he [the owner] had a chef from Bangladesh, directly from Bangladesh. He used to work in a hotel in Bangladesh. So, he started serving food that’s different, more cooked by a chef [who had] trained and worked in Bangladesh, compared to other people who learn by cooking at home here…’
Soon after opening, the café became a hub for local Bangladeshi community activists. The business was sold to new owners in 1988.
Today, Aladin is under new ownership with the Aladin brand operating as two neighbouring licensed restaurants with separate kitchens. The business belongs to a Bangladeshi family group which also owns Jasmine and Cinnamon.