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A la Colthard/The Permit Room

The Permit Room on Brighton’s Lanes is part of the successful Ishoom chain with a funky makeover.

I went there yesterday, treating my ex-doctor whom I have always liked and dispensed good optimistic advice.

In particular, he holds to my own view that – as we approach old age – zest for life, which might include eating and drinking to excess, is important and the medical profession is doing you no favours by always warning you of its dire consequences.

He arrived early and had already ordered a beer.

The only minor disappointment I’d mention is that, unless I chose to sit next to him in a an act of intimacy that was inappropriate, I was obliged to sit on a stool.

The service was professional but friendly – you often get the latter in Brighton, but not necessarily the former.

The good doctor was familiar with the menu and ordered onion bhagi and masala whitebait for starters, black dal (delicious) and a ruby chicken curry.

We washed this down with more ale.

He explained that Ishoom owed its tradition and heritage to the Irani cafes of Bombay.

Further investigation revealed that the Permit owed its name to the alcohol restrictions imposed under British rule in Bombay and the permits issued.

The food was fine and we had puds and an old fashioned cocktail to finish. The final bill was £142 – inflated by 4 pints each of IPA (£48 each ) but much cheaper than London.

My only beef with Indian cuisine is that the rich spicy sauces do not always agree with the Colthard tummy and never feel that good in the aftertaste.

Yet the Permit Room, in its decor and menu, is definitely a grade above the bog standard tandoori house and I expect the restaurant to do well, especially as it has relaxed hours and a fine mixologist.

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About Daphne Colthard

After graduating at RADA but finding no roles Daphne went into magazine journalism with Good Housekeeping. Widely recognised as one of the country's leading restaurant and hotel reviewers, particularly by herself, Daphne is the author of "Bedded and Breakfasted", a light hearted chick novel and Grand Hotels DC: the Daffers Dictionary. Daphne lives in West London and is married to an investment banker Oliver. They have 2 boys Humphrey and Tarquin. More Posts