A FAMILY-RUN restaurant in Ringwood celebrated its 40th year with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.

India Cottage was opened by Muhammed Mannan and his wife Momotaz on 4th October 1981 and is now in the hands of their son, Sadeq, known as Shad.

Born in Bangladesh, Muhammed arrived in Euston, London in 1963. After meeting and marrying Momotaz, the newlyweds discovered life outside the city and fell in love with the New Forest.

It was here that the couple started their family and India Cottage.

Going on to have five children; Shah, Parvin, Shad, Emran and Nasrin, the couple led busy lives building the business before retiring in 1991, passing the restaurant on to their son Shad.

In preparation for taking over the family business, Shad studied at Brockenhurst College before graduating with a degree in business and marketing from Wiltshire College & University Centre.

Muhammed said: “The restaurant was always a big part of our family and we knew it was in safe hands when we handed it over to Shad. With his studies in business, he has taken the restaurant from strength to strength and has been instrumental in making sure that we’re here today celebrating its 40th year.”

Set in a beautiful period cottage on Ringwood’s high street, the aptly named India Cottage, famed for its innovative dishes, is an important part of the market town.

Shad said: “We buy as much as we can, as locally as possible, it’s so important that we support local businesses.”

One of the biggest changes Shad made this year, was to the exterior of the restaurant.

He said: “We transformed our car park so we could offer outdoor dining during Covid. I wanted to make something really special for our customers so it’s got an open fire, heating and a beach hut where people can connect their own music. It’s warm, welcoming, and the perfect setting for nights out with family or friends.”

“India Cottage is such a huge part of my life, and all my families lives, and we’re incredibly proud of what we’ve built and grown here. We’re also really grateful to all our customers and would like to thank them all for supporting us over the last 40 years, and especially over the last 18 months, we wouldn’t be here without you.”