Food and drink
Preem restaurant facade (2019). Credit: Andrew Walker, Periscope
Above Preem restaurant (2019). Credit: Andrew Walker, Periscope
Preem opening day (1999). Credit: Raju Vaidyanathan
Outside Preem during the Bangladeshi Festival on Brick Lane (1999). Credit: Raju Vaidyanathan

Preem

The owner of Preem was born to a wealthy family and educated in Sylhet Town, Bangladesh. Due to the unstable political situation in his homeland, he moved to Sweden as a political refugee in 1976.

In the 1980s, after his postgraduate studies, he established a chain of ‘Indian’ restaurants in Stockholm. In 1999, he relocated to London and now lives in Tower Hamlets. He speaks Swedish, English, Bengali, Urdu, and Hindi.

In the year of his arrival, he opened Preem, on the corner of Brick Lane and Hanbury Street. Bengali-owned restaurant Golden Curry once occupied this site. In 2002 he expanded Preem into the adjacent site, so there are now two Preem restaurants , each with its own kitchen. The owner opened a third restaurant on Brick Lane in 2004, Preem & Prithi Balti House, on the former site of The Famous Clifton that is now occupied by Dark Sugars. Preem & Prithi Balti House closed in 2015 because the owner found it increasingly difficult to supervise all three restaurant sites.

The staff at Preem are all of Bangladeshi heritage. It is estimated that around 60% of customers are walk-in and around 40% book a table in advance. Preem’s customers are predominantly white and include a high proportion of City workers. A high percentage of the restaurant’s customers are regulars. The restaurants tend to be busiest on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The smaller Preem at 118 Brick Lane is closed on Mondays. Like Monsoon, Preem is one of the few restaurants on Brick Lane with a late-night licence. It opens at midday and closes at 230 a.m.

Preem’s most popular dishes are chicken tikka masala and tandoori chicken and the menu includes vegan dishes. The owner advertises the restaurant in Time Out London magazine.

 

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