As you turn off the bustling Juhu Tara road into a quiet bylane, you can feel the bustle of Bombay begin to quiet. The new outpost of One8 Commune, owned by Indian cricketer Virat Kohli is a testament to its surroundings and the spirit of the city.
From the get-go, One8 Commune is unlike any other Mumbai restaurant. Nestled in Kishore Kumar’s bungalow, the space whisks you away to another world. Everything about the design is a homage to the space. Original wooden floors are left intact and natural stone with earthy terracotta tones set up a sense of natural warmth and comfort.
Like all of One8 Commune’s ventures, it has a unique identity, and this outpost is designed to meld with the experience of living in Mumbai. It’s modern yet storied, old and new coexisting in harmony. It’s made for all occasions, and Monday through Thursday the first sitting sees families, with children of all ages coming to enjoy the light brunch vibes in the sunlit restaurant or a casual bite in the courtyard. As the sun sets it takes on a different atmosphere, with the DJ cranking up the music and their carefully curated bar becoming the main attraction.
The menu – created by Chef Pawan Bisht – is a melange of cuisines and identities, so there’s something for everyone. It was designed to reflect cricketer and owner, Virat Kohli’s travels his favourite comfort foods and a selection of dishes that align with his plant-based diet. The Avocado Tartar that appears under the ‘Virat’s Favourites’ section lives up to the hype with a bed of perfectly ripe avocado slices on a ponzu soy base and topped with tempura avocado and sweetcorn with sriracha mayonnaise. It's a playful balance of creaminess and crunch.
The Mushroom Googly Dimsums are dense and warming. With a blend of mushrooms, cream cheese, vegetarian broth, and truffle oil the first word that comes to mind is comfort. The Edamame Mousse In Phyllo Basket is another textural journey with the airy avocado mousse offset by the crisp pastry. The Peruvian Grilled Fish is an interesting experience with flame-charred seabass with a glaze of chilli, soy, basil and mirin along with leeks.
A well-stocked bar ushers you to sit back and enjoy cocktail hour with one of their house concoctions. The delicate lilac Lavender Gimlet seems to be a fan favourite with its aesthetic appeal. But as a whisky girl, I sampled the Banana Old Fashioned, a unique blend that mellowed beautifully through the meal.
Though the vibe of the restaurant seems to steer you towards small plates to share over cocktails, there are also a number of large plates and bowls for those looking for a more hearty meal. Hawaiian-inspired Poke Bowls exist in the same realm as a simple Khichdi.
That juxtaposition is a reflection of the experience at One8 Commune. It’s a menu designed for Mumbai, where people come out to see and be seen as much as to eat. It’s trendy but rooted in comfort. Avant-garde at One8 Commune doesn’t have to mean radical, it can be something that takes you back in time to a place of comfort and nostalgia, and stopping by feels like coming home.