Following the announcement that owners of ‘Dundee institution’ Balaka are selling up shop after 44 years of serving tasty cuisine on the Perth Road, we take a trip down memory lane to look back at some notable city eateries with memories which are sure to get mouths watering.
The Gunga Din was a staple of the Perth Road in the late 60s and 70s and it wasn’t just a hit with locals – it was also hailed as the best place to eat Indian food in Scotland at its height. The exterior can be seen in June 1990 with its iconic blue colouring.
The Gunga Din was also said to be a favourite of rock stars who headed to the city to play shows at the Caird Hall and comedian Billy Connolly was also said to be a fan.
The interior of the Gunga Din can be seen below in June 1984.
A print advert for the Gunga Din in 1981 highlights its success story.
What most people will remember about the Gunga Din, apart from the mouth watering food was owner Jacob Chacko, who went on to own the Royal Oak on Brook Street and then the Middle Eastern delight that was Malabar which opened on Perth Road, below in 2013, in 1976 alongside wife Audrey.
Jacob was a massively popular figure and just seeing pictures of his food make it easy to see why punters would rush to the restaurant. He is seen here with head waitress Sarah Downie in February 2006 and a selection of the dishes on offer.
Jacob passed away in 2009 with Audrey continuing to oversee the business after his passing and his brother Dominic took over as head chef.
The end of an era came on Hogmanay 2015 when the Malabar closed for the last time.
In July 1978 King Street became home to the city’s newest Indian restaurant as the Maharaja opened its doors.
Named after the Indian name for King or Emperor, the restaurant didn’t just offer table seating for 60 guests, it was also a popular takeaway venue for those looking to eat a curry in the comfort of their own home.
Finally, the restaurant which hit the headlines last week, as it was announced the owners of Balaka were looking to retire.
Boss Samsur Rahman came to Dundee from Bangladesh in 1970 as a textiles student but after being unable to find a job and without the option of returning home, he instead opened Balaka in 1977.
The restaurant suffered around £100,000 worth of damage when fire gutted it in the early hours of the morning in April 1987, however it didn’t keep them down for long with the restaurant reopening soon after.
In 2017 Samsur said in an interview: “A lot has definitely changed in Dundee. The Perth Road is still kind of the same but the whole landscape is different and that is good for the city.
“But we haven’t changed and I think that is one of the reasons why we have been successful.”