Situated near the gate of Brick Lane on the site of a former launderette, Bengal Cuisine was opened in 1985 by the late Chittagong-born Shamsul Alam Chowdhury, a graduate of Dhaka University, Bangladesh National Party activist, and property developer.
Under its second owner, who also hails from Chittagong, a large port city on the south-eastern coast of Bangladesh, the restaurant was refurbished and received positive reviews from Time Out at the turn of the millennium. At the time, the restaurant with high windows on its facade, clean-look interior, and innovative menu set new standards for decor and food in Brick Lane.
Bengal Cuisine is one of the few restaurants that remain open in the southern section of Brick Lane. Nearby establishments with a similar profile, Ajwan, Café Naz and Shaad, have now closed. These restaurants, which offered a more formal dining experience, once attracted a middle-aged crowd or those preferring a quieter time.
Responding to the decline in footfall in the southernmost section of Brick Lane over the last decade, Bengal Cuisine’s menu has been adapted to offer customers a cheaper all-you-can-eat buffet option. The restaurant now also more prominently displays vegan and vegetarian options to tap into the trend for plant-based dining, fashionable in this part of East London.