My Instagram feed had been abuzz for a while with some very appealing photos of The Permit Room dishes, but travel (vacation, not the one from Whitefield to MG Road) meant that it took us a while to get there. Despite the TOIT pedigree, the concept and therefore the food, ambiance and decor all are completely different. No craft beer, ok?
The name is a throwback to the days of Prohibition, and the food takes absolute liberties with good old South Indian cuisine. Spread across three floors, the decor is unabashedly kitsch – posters, quotes, art, matchbox collages, and the satirical take on taxidermy – all chuckle-worthy stuff. We sat on the first floor, with a view of Garuda Mall.
Rum Pazham Pori and Paati’s Magic Rasam were our first choices. Broadly, the drinks don’t live up to the hype that the names and ingredients build up. In the first drink, for instance, it was evidently banana syrup and not fresh banana as promised. The second drink was a much better one, though loaded with spice – whiskey, curry leaves and chili in a glass rimmed with rasam powder. We tried Ammachi’s Kashayam as well – a fancy name for what is more commonly known as Doctor’s Prescription. I liked the TOIT version more.
The food, on the other hand, more than made up for this. The menu is awesome enough to render decision-making extremely difficult. The Nizami Haleem Samosas had to be tried, and the smooth lamb pâté pate in crunchy samosas were absolutely deserving of all the praise we’d heard. The Brain Dry Fry has the most spectacular presentation I’ve seen of this dish – the completely edible ‘packaging’ and the dip are great complements to the brain itself. The Idli Souffle was a welcome change in texture. The sambar spheres and the chutney dip gave it all the flavours needed.
Given the abundant choice, we decided to continue with the starters and skip the main course dishes. (though there were some very appealing dishes there as well) The Kerala Beef Fry had superbly cooked, spicy beef served on coin parathas. The splendid form continued with the Liver ‘N’ Bacon Pepper Fry. But then, someone in the kitchen decided that we needed some time to digest all this before we could have dessert. The deconstruction of Jil Jil Jigarthanda took more than half an hour. That it was worth the wait is another matter.
The meal cost us a little over Rs.3000. The service is friendly but a little lethargic. (probably a kitchen issue, since they were pretty prompt otherwise) The cocktails weren’t really impressive, but we absolutely loved the food, right from the concept to the execution. It’s a fantastic twist to traditional south Indian cuisine, and that’s what you should go for.
The Permit Room, 16/3, Commissariat Road, Opp Garuda Mall Ph: 9019113388