The Permit Room, Edinburgh

Dishoom is one of my favourite places to go for breakfast – who doesn’t love a sausage naan? I had also been once for dinner, but I never visited their bar – The Permit Room, so I was delighted to be asked to come along and try out a few cocktails*. Kirsten and I visited last Sunday and we were quickly joined by Sam and Katie at the prospect of dinner after cocktails.

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The entrance to The Permit Room is via Dishoom on St Andrew’s Square. When you enter you’re greeted by a front of house member who, once you state that you’re here for some drinks, will direct you downstairs and you will then be seated by another member of staff. Once we were comfortable in our booth we received menus and began to pour over the extravagant cocktail menu. The waiter returned and asked if we would like any recommendations, which we gladly accepted. Our waiter was clearly knowledgeable on the drinks menu and was excellent at giving suggestions based on the kind of drinks we like. After careful consideration, I chose the Rudy Cotton and Kirsten picked the Kohinoor Fizz. Both were delicious – so of course Sam and Katie had to try!

The Rudy Cotton contained Blood orange, prestige white rum, lime juice and lemon bitters. It was served in an up glass and was sweet without being too sweet. I’m not a big rum drinker, but the rum wasn’t overly powerful; the citrus flavours were very clear and created a lovely, balanced cocktail, which was enjoyable to drink. Kirsten’s cocktail was a mix of gooseberry syrup with lime juice and Portobello gin, a wash of Aperol, diamond fizz’d with Prosecco and cushion’d with egg white. This one was extremely easy to drink and very tasty.

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Our waiter offered to bring us some snacks, which obviously, we said yes to. We were given dalmoth – fried lentils, spices, nuts and sev, as well as potato crisps sprinkled with magic masala and served with lime. Both were a great accompaniment to our meal. I’m not usually a big fan of trail mix, but I really liked the dalmoth. The crisps were my favourite; they were packed full of flavour and I loved the masala and lime combinations.

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Once we had happily sipped down our first cocktails, we quickly ordered another! This time I went for the Kalamansi Smash with Bold Gran Centenario tequila and rich demerara syrup muddled with fresh mint and kalamansi lime. I’m a big fan of tequila, so I new I would like this one, but it wasn’t overpowering, which meant that the others enjoyed it as well; this cocktail was very refreshing. Kirsten opted for the East India Gimlet, which had come highly recommended by the staff and for good reason – it was very yummy!

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All of the cocktails we tried were fantastic and I would easily order all of these again. The Permit Room is a lovely setting for both drinks and food. After our cocktails, we took a seat in the restaurant area to have dinner and it had a completely different feel from upstairs in Dishoom. Although both are great, The Permit Room had a much more intimate feel because it has less tables than the upstairs dining area. The bar is open until 3am, which I was pleasantly surprised by and it’s also suitable for smaller numbers as well as groups. Now that I’m more aware of The Permit Room, I’ll definitely be making more use of it.

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