The Permit Room

I often wonder why it takes so much more of my writing skills to be able to do justice to that feeling of having been in a restaurant and having had a meal or several meals that are worthy being raved about. I realise that it is because food and food experiences are so ephemeral, so ineffable. It’s the strongest of our memories, we can recall the feeling and even the taste, but to justifiably make someone else understand that which is so personal, that takes maybe lifetimes. 

But ever so often, you chance upon a moment that is so worthy of being written about. The restaurant that I speak of today has given me many such moments of food joy, camaraderie and consistency (which is the only reason for anyone to seek anything over and again).

The Permit Room. 

 Image Credits: Uthara Ramakrishnan
Image Credits: Uthara Ramakrishnan

The Permit Rooms sits smackdab in the center of the Garuda Mall signal, or at least that’s the center of my findings in that locality and hence I shall talk about it as such. It has beautiful industrial, rustic interiors that is peppered with so much regional humor that each person that passes by these hallways will find themselves repped on the wall.

The food at the restaurant is a curious mix of south Indian cuisine meeting the stylings of pub/bar food. This restaurant is another offering from the makers of the iconic Toit, anyone who has lived in Bangalore long enough has passed those hallways too. Permit Room stands apart from the rest in the food scene of Bangalore due to quirks in its food and décor. However, the place would not be worthy of raving, if it wasn’t aided by some of the nicest wait staff. I like that Permit Room is palatable to people across generations, that it is diverse enough to be a night out on town with your tribe, and also a great meal with the family. That is the accolade that the restaurant wins through its unique meld of food.

From my many visits to the establishment, I definitely have developed absolute favourites. I would recommend that one should try the Keerai Dal Vada, Cheesy Gunpowder Pondy Fries – which has a pickle mayonnaise dip that is genius in its simplicity. Their Avial is a warm bowl of home. Unfortunately, this is where my vegetarian exploration ends, not because they lack offerings but because the carnivore in me is infinitely more curious. 

My best picks in their non-vegetarian offerings are – the incomparable Southern Comfort Adai (served as mini dosa tacos) with the pulled pork filling, the meat and dosa melt in your mouth, a sure-fire win. Reigning amongst the list is also their Kerala Beef Fry, served on tiny kerala parotta medallions, I assure you your Instagram feed as well as your stomach will thank you for this one. From their brunch/breakfast menu, I am biased towards their Beef Toasties. 

 Image Credits: Rozann Peter
Image Credits: Rozann Peter

They always have intriguing tasting menus, and this time around, it’s the celebration of summer but obviously with mangoes. I could not get enough of their Mango Tres Leche (in fact looking at the picture of this plate of food is what pushed me to write this), this dessert has the light milk base of a Tres Leche, a beautifully formed mango rose – and the mango that topped my dessert had just the right hint of sour amidst the sweet bringing so much more depth of flavor, and the porous sponge cake ties it all together perfectly. As I rave, I also should mention that I am not as overwhelmingly pleased with seafood but I really can credit that to the years of living on the coastline – both Mangalore and Bombay. So, my standards with seafood are sky high. It’s more to do with it being Bangalore and red meat central. It also brings validity to the point that season and location will make a difference in the food one receives and that is only fair. So, as food lovers, knowing what city caters what best is essential. 

I’ll pay my homage to the desserts, from Chiroti to Rose Cookies, there are more than enough options, though my heart shall stay with the Mango Tres Leche. It is a fitting representation of South Indian food and innumerable flavours that I treasure from my South Indian upbringing. To see a restaurant bringing those flavours to a modern interpretation and a new crop of people, that never gets old. There’s really not much more to debate here, other than the time you will have to fix with your people to go experience this fine food experience. 

 Image Credits: Uthara Ramakrishnan
Image Credits: Uthara Ramakrishnan