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Cuisine: Share Plates, South Indian, Tapas/Small Plates
Price Point: Mains from $25 - $35+

For an authentic taste of India in the middle of Christchurch, Permit Room has big and small plates that seriously deliver on flavour.

It’s bright and airy; the perfect place to recline after a long day. Its high windows let in every last ray of sunlight and when it floods the minimalist interior, it makes for a serene space. An interesting contrast to their food which doesn’t hold back.

The menu is inspired by the food from Kerela. Start small with their Pori Poppadoms that come with a red onion and tomato salsa, their moreish Keralan Fried Chicken or dive into the deep end with their Gunpowder Cauliflower and Potatoes. When it comes to flavour, it’s all or nothing.

The same can be said for the mains. The Dosa is filled with a delicious mix of jack fruit and pumpkin subji and the Spicy Chittinad Lamb Curry comes on a bed of creamy lentils. It’s one flavour explosion after the next!

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Permit Room
779 Colombo Street
Christchurch 8013

Open Hours:
Everyday 12pm - 2pm // 5pm - 10pm

Phone: 03 925 9280

Sample Menu *may not be current

Click on menu to enlarge.

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Permit Room
Cuisine: Share Plates, South Indian, Tapas/Small Plates
Mains: $25 - $35+

Reviews

Rebekah Crake

We were given a choice of multiple tables to dine at, which meant we could pick a seat with a great view of Victoria Square, and near an open window with a nice fresh breeze (as it was a warm evening). We were promptly served with drinks, and talked through the menu. The food was 'out of this world' delicious!! We will certainly be going back and will be recommending to friends.

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Our experience at Permit Room couldn't have been better! Friendly and attentive service from the moment we arrived, the menu was well explained and had a delicious selection of drinks too. The food was just amazing and as a vegan I could still eat half the menu. We started with the baby eggplant, Masala Wada fritters and fried chicken (which my husband said was delish!). Everything was perfectly spiced and seasoned, with fairly decent portions. We shared the vege pot with a side of dosa and the not-to-be-missed Kerala Parotta. The curry was spicy enough for my spice-loving self but not so spicy that my more spice-adverse husband couldn't enjoy it. Despite feeling more than full we also got both desserts which were a divine way to end probably the best Indian meal I've had. Have already convinced some friends to come back with us sometime soon!

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Lache Glintmeyer

My 2 girlfriends and I loved it, service was amazing and so was the food! (Best Bhajis, vege fritters, prawns) Beautiful restaurant too, thanks for having us.

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Great evening. Amazing food! We went through most of the small plates and the service was so fast and efficient, we ordered another round. The house wheat beer is excellent too. Highly recommended :-)

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Shani Luxford

Permit room is a delicious escape to prohibition India! The food is a tasty, authentic spin on traditional indian fare and there is an impressive and just as yummy selection of drinks to match. Highly recommend the banana and kale bhajis, spicy, crispy with a hint of sweetness and an unbelievable tamarind sauce, they are a great way to start your meal. Portions are generous, with a main easily satisfying two if you want to share a range of starters too. Would happily return to taste more of the menu in the future.

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Scotty Burritto

Had a great dining experience with the Permit Room. Was feeling sorry for myself after Ireland were knocked out of the Rugby World Cup and this cheered me up immensely. We had some amazing bajees to start (good bajees are always a good sign for an Indian restaurant). Then as me and my partner are veggies we had a lentil curry and a potato dish which was loads of food. Tons left over. And it was so tasty with just the right amount of spice. They had kingfisher on tap aswell so I was happy. Great service with the waitress who's first day it was working in the restaurant. Didn't put a foot wrong. All in all a great Sunday evening.

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Fantastic evening - delicious food and smiling, accommodating staff. Highly recommend

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Ashley Tinnelly

From the moment we were greeted at the door until we left, the service was friendly and the staff were all attentive. On top of the service, the food was absolutely delicious! We will be back again, and I will be highly recommending The Permit Rooms food to friends and family. Best Indian food I have had in Christchurch.

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Litia Maclean

We had such a delicious dinner and will absolutely be back again. Every starter was utterly moreish!
The service was thorough and friendly.

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Scott Mansfield

Food tastes delicious and presented well. Shame the fish is excluded as it is my favourite dish but settled for the Lamb, which was also good. My partner had the Butter chicken, which was great and comes with rotti rather than rice. I would recommend the Permit Room special beer for something different, really refreshing and great taste. Service was quick and staff are friendly. The place is small but nice environment and a good vibe, clean and well presented. Would recommend.

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We tried the Permit Room for the first time last weekend. Our experience was a great example of delightful honest Indian food. For our entree we enjoyed some Baby Eggplant with Jackfruit & Pumpkin Dosa. Both of there were freshly cooked very tasty. Then for the Main we enjoyed some South Indian coconut butter chicken, served with Kerala parotta. Everything was extremely well presented. The wait staff were attentive detail and very friendly, The location of the restaurant was also really nice, looking over Victoria square. Myself and my wife really enjoyed all the aspects of our meal at Permit Room.

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Mary O'Leary

Having dined in The Permit Room before, we were already fans, so we used our First Table opportunity to try all the things we might not be adventurous enough to try - what a result, totally outstanding on every level, from service and drinks through to the amazing food. We can't wait to come back and get the fabulous corner window table for our next feast at this beautiful and delicious gem of a restaurant!

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Natasha Oliver

Having only booked an hour before arriving we were very impressed with the whole experience. From arrival to departure the food was outstanding, the decor was stunning and we would definitely dine here again. Thank you.

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given a warm welcome - a good choice of foods and loved the rose and cardamon lassi as a mocktail. A great pre -theatre place to go

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The Permit Room is my new favourite place in town! The servers were so kind and attentive. We ordered 5 small plates to share, and each one was packed full of flavour and beautifully presented. The jackfruit and pumpkin dosa is incredible! Paired with their special Permit Room Wit beer, the evening was just perfection!

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The food was excellent , way beyond my expectations , great location seating was very comfortable.
Nice friendly staff, great atmosphere
Food choices were different from most places and could highly recommend the Spicy Chettinad lamb curry and Kerala Parotta layered flaky bread was divine.
Wine list had lots of choices and well matched wines. Nice to see good Rieslings and a decent Gewurztraminer on the wine list and mixture of different vineyards.
Recommend the donut and ice cream for dessert was well balanced and tasty.

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Christine Smith

We had an amazing evening at the Permit Room. Fantastic food with just the right amount of spice and heat, really generous portions and nicely presented. We wished we had room for dessert, but maybe next time! The restaurant decor is cozy and modern with a prohibition theme, and has a lovely view of Victoria Square. Service was excellent and meals served by friendly wait staff with lovely smiles. A wonderful evening and we plan to return.

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Phillipa Webb

Excellent service beautiful food and really cool fit out - would definitely recommend and go again!

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lesley maclean

My husband and I dined here tonight for the first time, to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We made a great choice here: friendly waiter, gorgeous decor, and scrummy food . We enjoyed a starter of Kerala fried chicken (South Indian KFC?) which came with a fiery dipping sauce. YUM!. For our main we shared 2 dishes including dosa, a huge crisp pancake made from fermented rice and lentils, a South Indian specialty. I can never resist a dosa, and this did not disappoint. We also had a lamb curry (medium heat). Delicious too, but next time I will go for a hot, as this was actually quite mild. I also ordered an amazing and unusual drink made from ginger, fresh coriander, lime, cumin syrup and tonic. It took me a little while to get used to the taste but I did enjoy its refreshing quality and can imagine developing a real taste for it. Sadly no room in our tummies for dessert. Next time!

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We had a great meal last night at the Permit Room! We opted for many of the small plates and a main, which we loved because we got to try such a good variety of items! Banana and Kale bhajees were amazing (unique) and so was the prawns, okra and butter chicken! We will be back!

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We LOVED our experience here. Classy setting and different to your usual Indian Cuisine. The food was beautiful, and the service was excellent- friendly, warm and welcoming- yet gave us space to relax and enjoy our meals. Our favs were the fried chicken, and the coconut butter chicken with the flakey bread... we will be back!

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Vivienne Ong

Perfectly located for pre-show dining to Isaac Theatre Royal and Town Hall, right next to convention centre. Staff were super friendly and knowledgeable about the dishes. The food was so delicious, this is not food hall Indian, it is next next level. Great wine list. Highly recommend

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The Permit Room has some unique dishes and is a refreshing change from the run of the mill Indian restaurant. The spice & flavour combinations are excellent.....who thought banana & kale bahjis could taste so good! The staff are really friendly and couldn't be more helpful when it came to my partner who can't eat onions. Would highly recommend this place and will definitely be back! Would give this place 6 stars if I could...Yum!

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Beautiful food strongly representative of southern Indian flavours. Staff were happy, attentive but mindful of you enjoying your experience. Highly recommend, a great pace to catch up and enjoy excellent food.

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Benjamin van Wijk

My experience at The Permit Room was like no other. Walking in to see an amazing new fit out in that old building put a huge smile on my face. The story line in the front of the menu really ties you in to the running theme of the place. Full of aromatic smells and smiling faces, I knew this is where i WANTED to be. The service was incredibly professional, they were not pushy nor did they let us sit for a minute too long. Each dish was absolutely beautiful, and to be honest very different to what Im used too in christchurch. I am very impressed and will be sure to be back with a bigger group.

Kind regards
Benjamin van Wijk

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Get your Permit stamped here! A great new spot to visit, to quench a thirst and dine. What a perfect location - on your way to a show at the new Town Hall or enjoying the fountain and garden at Victoria Square - this is probably the best of the bunch. Top service, informative without being too pushy. We followed recommendations of the Keralal chicken and Lamb chops for starters as well as the tasty poppadoms. We then shared a creamy butter chicken with grilled flaky bread. Washed down with a glass or two of Marlborough Sav, a great taste experience. The fresh and clever design of the room was full of busy diners - all were smiling - as we were, heading off into the Autumn evening. Hard to fault.

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Had an amazing meal at Permit!! Food was delicious...the baby eggplant was amazing and a definite must try!! The waiting staff were extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the food and how it was prepared. We will definitely be returning and have already recommended to friends!!

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Shane Buckner

Absolutely stunning evening! From the warm and engaging welcome, through to the exquisite and authentic Southern Indian menu, we couldn't fault the evening.
All staff were knowledgable and friendly with just the right amount of banter.
We had 4 small plates and a main, along with extra bread. The bread is the real winner - smoky and very tasty! The gunpowder cauli and potato dish was a favourite, along with the absolutely sensational coconut butter chicken main. You must try the karnataka rice - an exceptional sauce with banana!

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Gavin Bishop

Fabulous food and excellent service. The 3 of us had 4 starters and 3 mains. Every dish was totally different with interesting flavour bases. I thoroughly recommend this restaurant. I think Christchurch is very fortunate to have somewhere like this.

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Jacob Patton

Never knew about this AMAZING place, the atmosphere, food, and service were top notch!!

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Julie McEwan

This was our second attempt to dine at the Permit Room, having to cancel due to events in Christchurch beyond our control, so we were really looking forward to dining here. We were not disappointed. From the moment we walked in and were greeted by a very smiley young man, we knew we were going to have a great night. The décor is something else. You can tell that there have been many hours and thought put in to this new restaurant. Situated in what will soon be a very busy area, the owners have really thought this one through. The food was stunning and presented very well, with once again, thought put into this, with lovely bowls and beautiful serving spoons etc. We were encouraged to try the beer that has been specifically brewed for the Permit Room with a hint of spice, which my husband said was very nice, I stuck to the Pinot. All in all our experience was fabulous and we couldn't fault it. Flavours, décor and service were all faultless. This restaurant will do well in Christchurch.

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Jean Anderson

This place is fabulous, the décor is just gorgeous, Worth going to just to admire the work that has been on this lovely old building. However the food was so good, we ate far too much, but the discomfort was well worth it! Staff are really friendly, and, rightly, very proud of the restaurant. Even the drinks were delicious - the Permit G & T was unlike anything I have ever had, and the ginger infused beer was a hit with my husband. Really keen to return - lunch next week definitely on the radar, cant wait to have another Dosa!

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The only word is wow! Service was impeccable from the second we stepped in to when we were walked to the door and thanked for coming. Two of us shared the Karnataka rice, Keralan fried chicken, baby eggplant and dosa and it was more than enough. The heat level wasn't too much, even for us kiwi wimps. The chai was the best I've had in years. A handful of mukhwas at the door and a wander around Victoria square and to Turanga library made for a great end to the date.

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Helen Jackson

The food was excellent - very unique for Christchurch to taste this traditional South Indian food. I also loved the recommended cocktail - vodka and curry leaf! I only wish I could have tried everything on the menu.

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Excellent food with friendly, attentive service. Recommend

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This was probably our third visit to the Permit Room. Each time we have dined we have been most impressed. We have found the service professional and attentive. The food is differs to your standard Indian restaurant, and is a level above both in terms of variety, ingredients and flavour. Really, really tasty! Certainly recommend.

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Anna Novis

Wonderful flavours and service! Had a very lovely experience here. Would definitely recommend.

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Not just another Indian restaurant! Great vibe, great atmosphere, super-comfy chairs with an innovative twist on classic menu items we all know and love. We'll definitely be going back again.

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The Permit Room is great- have visited multiple times and each time is just as good as the last. The food is always amazing- love the Kale and Banana Bhaji's. Will definitely be back.

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Mere Temoana

Atmosphere was great, love the decor. Started with Kerala Fried chicken and Pumpkin. Perfect spice, hazelnuts that accompanied the pumpkin were delicious mixed together with the sauce, nice bite size chicken pieces also. For main we had Lamb Curry, chickpea curry with Kerala Poratta. Both dishes separately were delicious but they were also very tasty mixed together and I like how the rice helped balance out the two dishes. Add the bread and the meal was complete. Finished off with both desserts, first time I had Kulfi, nice and light not heavy and the Gulab Jamin was amazing, loved the portion size first time I had seen it made as a donut, not overly sweet like it can be and the orange zest complemented the dish. First time visit, really impressed and the drinks were a treat too.

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Delighted with all. Friendly attentive staff, food created and presented with care. Great location and outlook over the park. Recommended.

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Angela Waller

We loved the Permit Room. Such a lovely style and atmosphere. The service was warm and attentive, and the food was beautiful, fresh and unique. I really want to go back and try more dishes on the menu!

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Shari Palmer

First time at the Permit Room and certainly won't be the last. Celebrated my birthday at the Permit Room last night with a friend.

Great food, very attentive staff and awesome decor.. Ten out of Ten. Tip, try their Gin and Tonic. Devine.

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greg thomas

This is not your average Indian restaurant. Permit room is great, from the moment you approach the building and take in the surrounds of victoria Square and the city tram passing by.
The service and staff were great as was the interesting decor and the novel menu with examples of the Prohibition permit passes. We dined on a selection of lite meals, they were a good size and served within a few minutes or ordering. We particularly liked the banana and kale bahjees.We have been telling others about our experience from last Saturday, all week !.
Greg & Frances - Christchurch.

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Great tasty food in a restaurant that has a great atmosphere and friendly staff,

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delicious food and great service

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Carrie Crack

We enjoyed a great evening, made more special by the amazing attentive service. We opted to share all our dishes and every option was a taste sensation. I am told the Permit G and T was magnificent, needed 2 to confirm. We will certainly return. Many thanks

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Megan Perry

I booked at Permit Room for my partner's birthday and we certainly weren't disappointed. I have to go as far as to say that this is my favourite dining experience in Christchurch! The service was impeccable, the restaurant fit-out is amazing and the food was incredible! Having spent a lot of time in India, I can be fussy with Indian food and know what I like. I enjoyed some wonderful cocktails and my partner enjoyed the speciality beer. Permit Room nailed it all! Cannot wait to dine again :)

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Great food and service and loved the decor.

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Kelly Dorgan

We came for a family birthday celebration and enjoyed a plant-based feast of a number of small plates and the dosa.
Everything was really good - well-presented and really tasty. The service was excellent. This is my 4th time dining here and I will definitely be back as well as recommending it to others.

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Victoria McVicar

My daughter and I arrived and was seated promptly. The restaurant had the windows opened on a very hot night.

We had a lovely mocktails. We had Keralan fried chicken was very tasty. We also had Alleppey Prawn which was a curry it came with a very small bowl of rice.
It was a nice and relaxing meal.

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Jeff Roberts

excellent service & food, will return o:)

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Great place. Great food and great service. So close to the town hall, this is the perfect place to dine before going to an event.

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Shanti Sheard

Would highly recommend the Permit Room if you are looking for delicious and authentic Indian food and excellent service. We could not fault our evening there.

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Fantastic customer service, delicious food -would highly recommend a lunch or dinner here.

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Kirsty Powell

Great meal with excellent service

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Melissa Jane

Great service, great food! Will definitely be back

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Tim Connolly

great location and tasty food, service was friendly

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Great food , ok service

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Gokul Vichur

Good food and good service.

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Bill Hardie

Very pleasant setting looking out towards Victoria Park on a fine evening. The wait staff were very attentive and helpful in selecting our meal. Our table was missing a drinks menu but that was quickly sorted and a good range of drinks are on offer. Food was beautifully presented and the "medium" setting was just right for us.

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Food is delicious and service excellent. Friendly and helpful staff. The evening was terrific. Thanks.

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First time dining and we were not disappointed. Not your standard Indian menu. A small but interesting selection of dishes that cater for several dietary requirements. Our 4 main choices were all really tasty and well received.

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David Bosma

The Permit Room offers a delicious range of Indian food, with both the starters and main menu offering a variety of delicious options that had us umm-ing and aah-ing over which we wanted to order! Rather than the generic sauce+meat+spice level options offered by a lot of Indian takeaway restaurants, The Permit Room provides a specific list of curries and starters that each seem to be appropriately designed to offer maximum flavour. We ordered poppadoms and fried chicken as starters (and both were tasty, although we would have liked a bit more!) and followed up with butter chicken and a prawn and mango curry for the mains. YUM. The prawn and mango curry in particular is something I would definitely order again, with a range of complex flavours and deliciously tender prawns meaning I did not leave much behind at the end of the meal! Also, the drinks menu is superb. Would definitely recommend, although if you want to order starters I would suggest you order a few as the ones we had were not super big.

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Stacey Wilson

Lovely view , lovely music.
Good food, and tasty cocktails
We will be returning
Thank you

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Jo-Ann Richardson

Great food and service!

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The absolute best Indian food I have ever had. It was simply divine and will definitely go again. The service was also A1 I couldn't fault it. Thank you

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Steph Findlay

Delicious food! We loved the gunpowder cauliflower and potato. There are many other vegan small plate options too. The service was quick and attentive.

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Great dinner at Permit Room, the dosa was so good! The service was excellent. Overall we had an awesome evening, and we would recommend anyone try out this restaurant.

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Rebekah Crake

We were given a choice of multiple tables to dine at, which meant we could pick a seat with a great view of Victoria Square, and near an open window with a nice fresh breeze (as it was a warm evening). We were promptly served with drinks, and talked through the menu. The food was 'out of this world' delicious!! We will certainly be going back and will be recommending to friends.

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Great service. Lovely decor with a saxophone player in the corner. Staff were very pleasant and the food came quickly. Would definitely recommend.

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We had a great dining experience at the permit room. The interior has a beautiful modern fit out finished to a high standard. With the benefit of using First Table we were fortunate enough to be seated by the wide open concertina window overlooking Victoria Park. Food was delicious and immaculately presented, we had the prawns, chicken and lamb. If I had to critique anything the initial table service could of been faster but we were eating with a young child so prefer to have food on the table fast! Generally speaking though the service is just as fast as any other restaurant and once our starters arrived everything else followed with perfect timing.

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Byron Clarke

Best Indian food I have had in NZ. From the short menu, each dish was clearly made freshly and with excellent pride. The complex flavours flowed with each fresh mouthful. Outstanding service (smiles galore and a desire to make your meal a special celebration for you) and excellent use of the small space. I am definitely coming back. Thank you all!

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The food was delicious and the staff were lovely would definitely recommend!

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everything great,nice evening

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Rebecca Stewart

The food was wonderful . Very tasty flavours. We shared two small plates and one large and it was plenty of food for two. Will definitely be returning .

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Our experience at Permit Room couldn't have been better! Friendly and attentive service from the moment we arrived, the menu was well explained and had a delicious selection of drinks too. The food was just amazing and as a vegan I could still eat half the menu. We started with the baby eggplant, Masala Wada fritters and fried chicken (which my husband said was delish!). Everything was perfectly spiced and seasoned, with fairly decent portions. We shared the vege pot with a side of dosa and the not-to-be-missed Kerala Parotta. The curry was spicy enough for my spice-loving self but not so spicy that my more spice-adverse husband couldn't enjoy it. Despite feeling more than full we also got both desserts which were a divine way to end probably the best Indian meal I've had. Have already convinced some friends to come back with us sometime soon!

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Great authentic Indian food, never disappointed. We will be back

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Yummy banana pakora, gunpowder cauliflower and other unusual Indian treats in a great location and slick, friendly service.

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Really great aesthetics and a lovely atmosphere. The place is inviting and the staff are attentive, kind and very helpful. The menu is exciting and food was good. Flavours were wonderful, some items were abit spicy but would dine there again.

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Lache Glintmeyer

My 2 girlfriends and I loved it, service was amazing and so was the food! (Best Bhajis, vege fritters, prawns) Beautiful restaurant too, thanks for having us.

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I was lucky enough to share this restaurant with my daughter as we both love Indian cuisine but hadn't experienced much of the South India cuisine. Our waiter was fantastic with his explanation of the menu and we were pleased that he recommended plates that we had heard about.
Throughout the dinner, we had excellent service from all the staff. And our meals lived up to the expectations.
Would recommend this restaurant to all Indian cuisine lovers!

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Not your average curry and naan. Great place if you want a brand new, fine dine Indian experience. Food&services lived up to the hype. Coconut rice is a must add-on!

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Dan Toa

The spice in the food was definitely a pallet opener

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Overview

318 reviews

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