Believe me when I say this: sometimes, being a food writer in Mumbai feels like being a detective. There's so much drama in the industry it could make for at least one whole season of Dynasty (a popular American soap that I am currently obsessed with, so forgive this). What with innumerable restaurants openings, closing and re-opening like clockwork each and every month. It can get a bit difficult to track, so thank god for my sources, who in their latest dispatch informed me about another exciting opening—an outlet of Virat Kohli's restaurant, One8 Commune on Mandlik Road.
From what I know, it's going to come up where the erstwhile-but-iconic Indigo used to sit, and play neighbours with Mumbai's new go-to Mag St Cafe. Plus, it could be up and running by the end of this year, if rumours are to be believed. Truth be told it's really no secret that the current captain of India team and possibly the country's most desirable cricketer also dons the restaurateur hat. And that became clear when he joined hands with childhood friend and hospitality honcho Ankit Tayal (also the owner of Mango, Auro and Summer House from Delhi) to launch the first resto-bar from the banner in Aerocity in 2019. In fact, at the time, Tayal had already gone on record announcing the brand's aggressive expansion plans and maybe I am late to the party, because he seemed to have mentioned Mumbai as one of the cities they'd be taking One8 Commune to.
Earlier this year, the bar piloted in Kolkata, too and did so to rave reviews, might I add. I am guessing the Mumbai outlet will be an extension of its sister-concerns, with a largely laidback space serving multi-cuisine food, with all kinds of things on the menu, from a satay to a salad. I am naturally eager to see what the final space looks like, though, because my very kind sources never forget to name-drop when there's a chance. And in this case, the name was architect Ashiesh Shah's, who is one of this city's most sought after, and also the guy behind Bandra's popular Joshi House.
My inference is that One8 Commune is going to try and become a go-to, pan-India chain of bar-outlets riding on approachable food and of course, Kohli's name. But whether they will succeed or not is something time will have to tell. I could too, but I kind of still have a whole season of Dynasty left to watch. So, maybe later?
Suman Quazi is a Writer, Host and the Food Editor with India Food Network and Start2Bake. She believes that while food is cultural, societal and intellectual, it is also deeply personal and is keen in contributing towards a dialogue around food in India that's meaningful. Her work has appeared in leading Indian publications like Midday, Living Foodz, Zee Zest, Deccan Chronicle, 101India and DailyO.