An LED-lit signature and a jersey with the name and number 18 written on it were about the only signs that Kolkata’s newest resto-bar, One8 Commune, was owned by the poster boy of Indian cricket, Virat Kohli. Instead of the anticipated sporty vibes, the place reminded us of the old Calcutta social clubs – spacious, classy décor, plush seating arrangements.
Vaulted ceiling with metal truss, marble flooring, hints of Romanesque arches, chandeliers, etc. aided by a colour palette of rust, olive green and blue in different textures led to a vintage feel. The 35 feet long curved bar with the iconic Howrah Bridge etched along it was contemporary in design. The place was designed by renowned interior stylist Sumessh Menon.
Being in a group, we were ushered to the raised seating space beneath the signature and one of the most grammable spots in the over 4,500 sq ft plus resto-bar. If you are looking for a more intimate seating, there are capsule style pods. The resto-bar has a cover of 100 seats.
A frenzy of selfies and usie had made us thirsty and a perfect excuse to try out the fairly inclusive bar menu. Curated by head mixologist Neeraj Sharma, it included signature cocktails from the classic 50s, Retro 70s to the current millennial generation. Commune No 7 (Jack Daniel No. 7, Peach Syrup, Honey Lemon Juice, Mint Leaves and Soda, Yellow Tail (Tequila, Triple Sec, Passion Fruit Puree, Lemon Juice), Barrel Meister (Jagermeister, Cardamom, Pineapple and Pineapple juice, Cinnamon), Sage Thumb (Sage, Tequila, Honey Lemon Juice, Peppermint, Egg White) were some of the favourites from the One8 Signatures list. Besides, there were In-house Gin Concoctions for each day of the week, where you choose the gin and the mixologist adds the surprise twist. Those of us who had to report for work after lunch opted for the lesser evil – mocktails. If you are there on a hot afternoon, do try the Watermelon + Lemongrass Cooler.
For the food, we sought help from Chef Abhinav Sharma (corporate chef de cuisine at One8 Commune) to guide us through the almost 16 page menu. We opened our innings with Mushroom Googly. Apparently a favourite of Virat Kohli, the beetroot coloured dimsums of assorted mushrooms and truffle were the perfect starters to whet our appetite. Next to arrive was the Bamboo Cashew Chicken where a mix of chicken with bell peppers, cherry tomato and scallion were cooked Schezwan style in bamboo shoot. A flurry of clicks as Chef Sharma served it with élan.
Our excitement drew the attention of Ushoshi Sengupta, Communication Director at One8 Commune. We were delighted when the former Miss Universe India and actor accepted our request to join us for some time. “One8 Commune is an extension of Virat Kohli’s personality, his fondness for food and the people of India and I’m stoked that he chose Kolkata to be the second outlet after Delhi,” she said. According to her suggestion, we opted for the Bandel Mochar chop, croquettes of plantain florets and Bandel cheese. Unless you are allergic to seafood, the Garlic Butter Prawn, made with tiger prawns, fresh herbs, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, and olives is a must.
We began the mains with the Tortellini Alfredo, the pasta bedded in Parmesan cream, roasted nuts, and truffle oil. It was an instant hit. We followed it up with the Pizza Napoletana Con Burrata, with an overload of tomato pilati and fresh burrata and a touch of garlic oil. From the Kolkata menu, we opted for the Begun Kasundi, oven roasted baby brinjals cooked in mustard curd, and combined it with a portion of steamed rice. Finger-licking good! The herb-crusted fish steak (with vegetables, cherry tomatoes, and avocado) was a pleasant reminder of the old social clubs’ menu, with the lemon caper emulsion adding a quirky twist. Here, I must offer my thanks to Chef Pawan Bisht (corporate chef and R&D executive of One8 Commune) for the curation, where food takes precedence over experimentation. Something which I was missing of late. The menu at One8 Commune includes an eclectic mix of Oriental, Continental and Indian dishes along with some of the local favourites. Some are classic; some with a twist but the soul intact.
According to Sengupta, the menu is also inspired by Virat Kohli’s personal journeys and food experiences, creating a holistic culinary space for all types of foodies. She also shared Captain Kohli’s message to the city --“My connection with Kolkata has always been very joyous and remains integral to me from my under-19 days till today. Calcuttans know how to do justice to the food and Kolkata’s food culture has always been fascinating to me. Hence we thought One8 Commune could be a fantastic addition to the city's gastronomic preferences with a bit of our distinctive twists.”
We were full but can you say no to dessert as attractive as the Fiver Rivers Mud Cake (a layered chocolate mud cake with chocolate mousse) or the Chocolate Fondant (melting chocolate lava, coffee dust)?
One8 Commune is located in the Golden Park Hotel premises - 13, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata 700071 (follow the passage on the right as you enter the main complex).
Presently, the resto-bar follows the regulated (pandemic) timing – noon to 10.30pm.
A meal for two would be around Rs 1600 plus tax (without alcohol) and Rs 2400 plus tax (with alcohol)
For reservations, call: 8335071818, 8335051818