Review | Food

Dining with Virat Kohli

A spread of food at One8 Commune

A spread of food at One8 Commune   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

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We can’t, so we have the next best thing — One8 Commune that brings us his favourites from India and the world

If at first you’re wondering what ‘One8’ in One8 Commune is, it’s a fun way to say ‘18’, which is the Indian men’s cricket team captain Virat Kohli’s jersey number. It’s also the name of his lifestyle brand.

One8 Commune, the brand’s latest opening, has the right mix of healthy-yet-delicious plus delicately indulgent food, and is a great translation of the image Kohli has garnered over the years: a once boisterous Delhi boy, who’s made it big, and is slowly steering himself with some flamboyance into being a responsible grown-up, buffing his rough edges till they gleam.

One8 Commune’s location at Aerocity is also symbolic of the people of a new New Delhi. Like Virat, they are ready to fly in and out of the country frequently, becoming newly aware of a throbbing global food culture. The menu is an unconfused, well-curated mix of Mediterranean, Continental, and Asian, with a section of (North) Indian Plates.

The vibe: There is the unmissable Virat Kohli wall with just his signature transposed onto a neon lightbulb. The decor is showy Delhi, without being loud. A Virat jersey is on another wall, lit up. Upstairs is a big multi-game scoreboard, where tennis, hockey, cricket, and a few more are included. There are no TVs showing sport re-runs here; the focus is on the food. It’s fresh without being another hipster place with light-toned wood and indoor planters. The outdoor balcony seating is wonderful and easy — there are plants here, offset by the corporate world of glass outside.

Do try: All of the dishes on the Virat’s Favourite section of the menu. The crunch in the Superfood Salad comes from amaranth pops, not from leaves that make for an awkward first-date experience. The Mushroom Googly, a mushroom and truffle oil dimsum is light on your stomach, yet the distinct smell of the dash of truffle oil leaves your tongue feeling like you ate something much richer.

The Continental section of the menu has a Sriracha Chicken Taco, which chef Pawan has got just right — the soft shell taco holds just enough chicken sour cream, guac, salsa and arugula with none of it spilling over your clothes or leaking onto your chin.

This is in a way a metaphor for all of the dishes here — indulgent without leaving you stainedwith post-meal guilt.

The Black Chicken is quite the star — your standard coal-grilled chicken, but one that’s soaked in black sesame marinade. The flavour is nutty but with the texture of wet tandoori chicken – Delhi should be mighty pleased.

The dessert menu too caters to the Delhi identity: We are a city that holds onto our hot chocolate fudge with emotional intensity. The Five Rivers Mud Cake is a treat: one layer of white, another of dark, and a third of mixed mousse, with a berry compote on the side. The Chocolate Fondant is a classic crowd pleaser executed with finesse.

Skip: Nothing. Go in with as empty a stomach as you can. Definitely try as much as you can. The cocktail menu is well segregated too, according to ‘history’: Prohibition Era, Disco Age, and Millennial, which is an interesting re-look at the evolution of drinks.

The Barry Manilow #Copacabana (Disco Age) with a bit of their housemade Maraschino liqueur puts you in a beach-mood immediately without the usual coconutty pina colada having to do so. The showman wouldn’t disappoint.

The Danced in the Nile (Millennial) is a fresh (and not pink) vodka mix despite the canned litchi in it.

Go with: Friends, family, or alone in the afternoons when it’s quieter. This is a place for all seasons and most occasions.

Space bar: 120 covers, over 6,000 sq ft, child-friendly, no pets

How much? ₹2,500 for two (sans alcohol)

Reach: Worldmark II, 8 Aerocity. Best accessed by cab. And if you do justice to this menu, you will struggle to drive after.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 2:32:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/dining-with-virat-kohli/article29961273.ece

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