Colonial-style fare makes for perfect fit

Colonial-style fare makes for perfect fit
Permit Room is the latest hospitality venture from Anup and Sadhana Nathu.

Entering Permit Room you enter the unknown—a taste of eastern mystique within the pulsing heart of Christchurch city—and there lies its beautiful charm.
Permit Room is the latest hospitality venture from Anup and Sadhana Nathu—creators of the famous Tandoori Palace brand and Mumbaiwala in Hereford Street.
Welcoming you to the exciting days of east-Indian Prohibition, Permit Room radiates the atmosphere of elicit alcohol and the world of opportunity where deals are done and intentions softly spoken.
The colonial style prohibition bar and restaurant features darkly polished oak furniture, tiled floors and offers crafted beer brewed locally from Three Boys Brewery, along with cuisine from the southern regions of India – an exciting first for the blossoming city of Christchurch.
When Anup first travelled to India as an eleven-year-old boy with his parents, travellers were required to obtain a permit to bring alcohol into the country and when moving alcohol throughout the different Indian states.
Where better to reflect a time of colonial Indian prohibition than a well-known and much loved Georgian building, built in the 1920’s.
Seriously damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes, the three-storey building has been beautifully restored and brought up to 100% of the new NBS (National Building Standard).
Superbly located on the corner of Colombo and Armagh Streets overlooking Victoria Square, the beautiful red brick building is an ever-popular subject for photographers capturing architecture of a by-gone age.
With a view across Victoria Square that can never be built out and facing north with the sun streaming in almost all day, Anup says that the building and its location offered a very unique opportunity.
“We believed in creating something that was appropriate for the building. Colonial-style Indian fitted that imagery and gave the building the character that it deserved.”
While food from northern India is usual in Christchurch’s Indian restaurants, Permit Room has focused on food from the southern regions as another exciting point of difference bringing chefs especially in from India and offering such delicious morsels as banana and kale bhajis.
“Because of the location to the arts and theatre, we wanted to create a place where people could come in and have a drink without having a full meal—so we’ve catered for that market as well,” Anup says.
“People can come in for a snack, a drink and get away to see a show, or they could come in for a full meal.”
“We believed in creating something that was appropriate for the building. Colonial-style Indian fitted that imagery and gave the building the character that it deserved.”
Supporting New Zealand regional wines, Permit Room offers a wide range of Central Otago, Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay wines.
Amongst its range of Three Boys Brewing beers is a unique wheat beer infused with cardamom and ginger.Seating 35 patrons, a further 50 guests can be seated on a mezzanine floor, providing the perfect functions venue for people looking for a licensed establishment where prohibition is the order of the day.
When first shown the building and its location, Anup says he was immediately excited by the future of the area with the development of the Convention Centre, the Crowne Plaza Hotel already in place and the proximity to the (now restored) Christchurch Town Hall.
“We want to create a destination and we will build a loyal customer base—but foot traffic creates that extra security for a business.
“Having the Crowne Plaza over the road and the Convention Centre as our neighbour creates that foot traffic.”
The two upper levels of the building have been designed and refurbished for offices which Anup hopes will be attractive to professionals looking to be close to the CBD and Convention Centre.
Having been open for a month, Anup says the business community has also been another customer segment attracted to the mystique of The Permit Room with nightly groups of 4, 10 and 15 – both local business people and those from out of town.
“I’m excited because we’re creating something totally new and also we want to lift the bar when it comes to restaurants, dining and atmosphere in terms of Indian food.”
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