Should you or should you not? Take a membership that is. That’s the question on every creative-minded person’s mind in Mumbai. Or at least the ones I came across on my visits to the city.
Soho House recently opened its doors in Mumbai, well early November 2018 to be precise; and the flavour of the season has tongues wagging. From the swanky ‘townies’ to the glamorous Juhu fashionistas, the first Asian property of the exclusive members-only club found from London to Amsterdam, Berlin to New York, has everyone talking. And a chance to be seen at.
There I was, sitting at the lovely rooftop area, taking a swig out of one of the house tonics—gin, cucumber, mint and lemon, fashionably called Eastern Standard—on a Friday afternoon. I won’t lie, it felt wonderful to be away from emails, copies to write or edit, meetings and most definitely, social media. I completely agreed with the house rule—no taking phone calls or pictures in member areas to maintain privacy. While the uninterrupted view of the sea on my left was a calming factor (it wasn’t the gin, I swear), on my right there were people milling about, meeting friends or just grabbing lunch.
Eavesdropping is frowned upon in society but when the table next to me claimed loudly that the Picante de la casa at the Mumbai house was better than the one in the London, it piqued my curiosity. But more on that later.
Soho House is an 11-storey building with 38 cosy and comfortable rooms, painted white and standing tall, in the artistic heart of Juhu. An oasis of calm in the bustling city of Mumbai, the palm trees on the property give the place a soothing, laidback vibe. Enter through the doors and the blaring horns of the road will disappear.
The decor is inspired by local touches—over 90 per cent of the furniture and bric-a-brac are locally sourced. Quirky, fun, vintage and distressed are the flavours with pretty floor tiles. Woven cane furniture, jute rugs, cloth lamp shades, retro-styled telephones and radios, wooden ceilings—Soho House inspires to be Pinterest-worthy at every nook and the other hand, can sign in three. If a stay or using hotel/member facilities isn’t your thing, there are always the ground floor restaurants The Allis and Cecconi’s open to all. The first floor is up for hire for gatherings, meetings or private events and can be booked by members and the general public.
A long nap, a warm shower-Cowshed shampoo combination, and black coffee in a delectable ceramic cup later, I found myself on the members’ floor. With teal shades on the walls, plush furnishings and chandeliers, the space was massive enough to host large dinner parties. A heavy breakfast of akuri and pav had ensured food wasn’t a top priority but the house tonics definitely were. It was there that I finally tasted the infamous picante (spicy) drink—a concoction of tequila, red chilli, coriander, lime and agave. The surprising combination gives enough heat but at the same time, is palatable. Maybe I need to visit the London house for a taste test.
Soho House may not have a spa but it does retail Nicobar and Cowshed products; there are 30-40 events every month for members; there is peace and tranquility right in the heart of a busy city; and there is kick-ass flavour in the food (I can still taste the avo toast with poached eggs). While getting a membership otherwise may not make sense, it makes perfect sense for a local living nearby for all the amenities offered or someone who travels to Mumbai every other week.
So, will you Soho?