The fashionable restaurant offering Asian, Indian and European cuisine aims high and promises indulgence but delivers lack-luster fare coupled with mediocre service and staff.
By: Niyoshi Shah
Posted on: May 1, 2023
LF Says: ★★
As a rule, I adore all kinds of food, especially Indian and Lebanese. It is all personality and so rarely short on flavour. Often, it can be vividly inventive. So, when the very fashionable One8 Commune in Mumbai invited me for a review, I was eager and enthusiastic.
Vertiginous and visually impressive, the restaurant is most definitely attractive and cavernous with a relaxed, laid-back design. But the over-all experience toggles between avoidable to unexceptional at best. If you are a cricket fan, tucking into former Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s favourites may be a bonus.
The restaurant, which was once (late) legendary singer Kishore Kumar’s bungalow, can seat around 130 people. When I arrived on a Saturday evening, it was packed to full capacity. After being made to wait, despite the reservation, we were led to a quaint spot at the entrance by a stoic hostess and were given a menu list. The indoor space has a cosy living room feel, with warm wooden tones, dim lamps and a lot of flora and fauna.
The key selling point for One8 Commune is and will always be that Mr. Kohli’s favourites are served here. The cricketer has been a part of the inception, design and menu as well. A section in the relatively lean yet eclectic menu is dedicated to his four favourite dishes – a super food salad, the famed avocado tartar, mushroom googly dimsums and a pearl barley risotto. There are surprisingly few options for vegetarians.
We opted for the avocado carpaccio which came with jalapenos and ponzy sauce (Japanese condiment), a portion of the corn ribs, Middle Eastern mixed veg kababs, oven cooked Cod (miso glaze, bok choy) and fermented black beans for the main course. The server seemed uninformed about the menu or the ingredients of each dish. I was served water with some grime on the glass, and when we pointed this out, he promptly replaced it without an explanation or an apology.
The food arrived fairly quickly. The carpaccio made for a quietly arresting opening, faintly nutty and tasty. Our next selection - the corn ribs lacked flavour. The seasoning wasn’t optimum but was cooked to tender perfection. The kababs were placid at best, but the cod was the saviour. It was succulent with a generous dose of mushrooms and asparagus and the right amount of flavour.
...here is another steeply priced, handsomely appointed and instantly mobbed opening that just doesn’t withstand much close scrutiny.
Mushroom Googly Dimsums - A Virat Kohli favorite.
Our main course arrived shortly after - fermented black bean paste with peppers, cottage cheese and scallion rice. It was salty with a hint of sweetness and lots of umami depth. It was diverting, if a little lacking in va-va-voom.
The servers, even when idle, seemed to have been instructed to avoid eye contact — or any contact altogether — except for placing food in front of you while saying the plainest version of its name. It’s an opportunity lost.
I found that as the night wore on, and the dishes arrived with disconcerting speed, I had the familiar sense of a restaurant that I had inadvertently experienced multiple versions of in the last few months. Which is to say, here is another steeply priced, handsomely appointed and instantly mobbed opening that just doesn’t withstand much close scrutiny.
It's clear the focus for One8 Commune is not the food or the dining experience. While it has all the potential to appeal to the discerning crowd of Mumbai, the lack of attention to detail heads the list of shortcomings. The final word? Slightly inept and a bit disappointing.
LF Says: ★★
Coordinates: 18/B, Juhu Tara Rd, behind Little Italy, Shivaji Nagar, Juhu, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India