Bored of arbitrarily themed Prohibition bars? Well, the King’s Cross branch of Dishoom’s Permit Room (the second of its kind) has its own thing going on, taking inspiration from Bombay’s own Prohibition era when the public needed a licence to drink alcohol based on ‘medical’ grounds. It suits us ‘what’s your excuse?’ Londoners to a tee. The room is moodily lit but never flirts with speakeasy clichés. It’s a big basement filled with chatter, a waft of incense and the comings and goings of chipper bar staff with trays held high.
You’ll have to queue at the door at peak times, just like punters do for a curry in the restaurant. But once you’re in, browse a list of juleps in traditional copper cups, martinis twisted with Indian aromatics, and shaken sours with more than a whiff of the East. Gin is the maharaja on the menu, in a proper nod to colonial times. Permission to come again, please?