Permit me please
A visit to the Permit Room beneath Dishoom was a hugely enjoyable but slightly surreal experience for me. You see almost thirty years ago you would have found me in the very same place next to a similarly large table. Only back then the table would have been a snooker table in the smoked filled recreation room of my then employer and any drink being consumed would have been a rather tepid can of 7up if I was lucky. Ah such good times!
Fast forward to today and the experience has improved a thousand fold. Gone are the beat up malodorous lockers (don’t ask), the patched up snooker table with only 14 reds, the nicotine stained cream walls and the harsh fluorescent lighting. Now you have a very welcoming basement bar of dark woods, warming lights, gentle aromas of incense, an eclectic selection of drinks and very friendly staff.
Best of all is the cocktail list created by Carl Brown (pictured), Dishoon’s Daru-walla (the drinks guy). Whilst Carl and his staff will happily rustle up your favourite cocktail I would recommend trying at least one of the Parsi theatre inspired concoctions on the menu. Make sure to ask about the story behind your chosen drink as you wait for it to be mixed.
I particularly enjoyed the Horniman’s OldFashioned (£9.00), a barrel-aged mix of El-Dorado Rum, Dishoon’s own pineapple syrup and bitters. Brought to your table in its very own 100ml bottle, this is a sweet, strong sipper of an after dinner drink that would be perfect to follow spicy food. If your tooth isn’t as sweet as mine and you like something longer then try the Marzban’s Fizz (£8.00), a fusion of Johnnie Walker Black Label, Indian pear and soda that I found disappeared way too quickly.
Strangely enough, though, the highlight for me was the Virtuous Tulsi Sour (£6.00), one of a small number of ‘copy tipples’ that Carl has created. I don’t think I’ve ever raved about a non-alcoholic drink before but this is seriously good. Complex, mature, spicy and definitely just for sipping, if I ever have to give up drinking alcohol then this is the drink that I’d be drowning my sorrows in!
I’m already looking forward to my next visit. (M. Earl)
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