For an anti-colonial hangover head to Episode One in Powai
Designed by Studio Eight Twentythree, Mumbai, the pub completely flips the concept of Victorian gymkhanas to reimagine a modern, inclusive space
From one city with a strong club culture to another with a penchant for ‘blue-chip’ hangouts, Episode One opens its second outlet in Mumbai after Kolkata to turn the gymkhana culture on its head while retaining all the best parts. Helmed by Anjan & Avik Chatterjee of Specialty Restaurants, Episode One is designed to bring colonial nostalgia together with contemporary sensibilities sans dress codes and memberships.
Designed by Studio Eight Twentythree, Mumbai, it is an exploration towards what gymkhanas would be if re-imagined in today's times. A material palette of locally sourced Rajasthani marble, solid teak wood and bundles of natural greens render this place complete with a spatial feel of what yesterday feels like if one would imagine it today. Studio Eight Twentythree takes the victorian era and art deco as the start of their jouney and evolves it into an approach where the old and the new merge seamlessly into a new world order of aesthetics.
The foyer of Episode One leads into pragramatically divided zones; the Ballroom, the collective high energy community space; the Taproom, where cocktails, brews and spirits flow out endlessly; the Chambers, an ordered dining and feasting area; the Veranda, which exudes a warm outdoors feel being the articulated transparent connection between the outside to the inside; and the Bidi Room, the smokers enclave.
If you find the drinking experience at clubs comforting, the state-of-the-art bar at Episode One takes it to a whole new level. The Taproom is an all-access, inviting space with custom cocktail tanks to dispense ‘taptails’ - cocktails on tap. An Episode One specialty, ‘taptails’ make the best of draft technology to serve up cocktails better, quicker and keep them tasting consistent each and every time. Pick from the vodka-based Berries & Rose & Lychee Lemongrass Carbon Lemonade, the gin-based Blue Tea & Gondhoraj or the whiskey-based Old Fashioned with Mogo Mogo tea and homemade bitters. Or raise a glass to inclusivity with special Episode One theme-based cocktails like the Victorian Raj with dark rum, Victorian shrub & passion fruit fizz, Brown is Beautiful – whiskey, cinnamon orange jam & ginger and The Revolution – a truly lit gin and peach concoction.
At Episode One, The Chambers is a club-style section inspired by colonial dining areas, designed to encourage community and interaction over drinks and food from around the world, while at The Veranda one can indulge and spill the tea with some help from a ‘tipsy high tea’ menu. A long way from soggy club sandwiches, here one can pick between a vegetarian and non-vegetarian high-tea option with scrumptious bites that include dumplings and Cheetos-Crusted Sliders among other things to go with hot high tea or cold ‘spirited’ teas.
With the intent of providing the same comforting experience of going back for seconds at a gymkhana restaurant, the Episode One food menu is elevated to provide everything ranging from sushi and sliders to curries and pizza. Non-members are invited to wholeheartedly enjoy small plates like Avocado Galauti Kebab, Soft Shell Mutton Tacos, Pav Bhaji Dinner Rolls and Goan Chilli Chicken along with Short Eats that include options like Cornflake Potato Croquette, the Brexit Breakfast Tray and the World Mezze Platter served with edamame wasabi hummus, makhani dip, classic hummus and assorted bread.
For bigger meals over longer sessions one can take a trip around the world – from Linguini Carbonara and Mac & Cheetos, a take on the classic mac and cheese tossed with flaming hot Cheetos, Smoked Salmon Pizza and Polenta Steak to comforting Asian favourites Chilli Basil Fish, Cantonese Prawn Noodles & Braised Tofu with garlic fried rice and warming Indian flavours in mains like Lamb Ghee Roast & Prawn Malai Curry served with coconut rice. To burn off those calories and blow some city-life steam, enter The Ballroom at Episode One – a place where you can let your hair down and truly ‘have a ball’ with high-energy tracks and carefully curated event nights with upcoming local and international artists.
The design of the 8,000 sq-ft space interestingly, excludes paint which is otherwise a given finish to the surfaces. The blacks on the massive ceiling is achieved by charring natural wood to give it a beautiful texture throughout. The walls are covered with fabric which is further rendered into numerous layered thoughts by artist Sajid Wajid Shaikh. The fluted design transforms the marble and natural wood into a unique texture as elements. The custom furniture with solid wood and cane along with bespoke lighting elements add to the finer nuances of the spatial feel.
At the new Episode One in Powai, a great experience awaits. Whether you’re having your own intimate party in the disco-ball clad restroom or sneaking away for some chill time to the ‘Bidi Room,’ there’s ‘inclusive access’ everywhere for absolutely everybody with no room for minor snobberies or offensive rules. So come as you are and do as you please – we’re starting afresh with Episode One.