Restaurant Review: Pan Asian Eatery Eight Offers Comforting And Creative Dishes

Enormously likeable tempuras, soothing dim sums, astutely crafted sushis, and comforting bowls of curries are the highlight of this buzzing new place at Palladium, Mumbai.

Published On Aug 24, 2022 | Updated On Mar 08, 2024

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Is it the pandemic-led collective boredom, clever marketing, or the lure of a newly-minted place that is driving people to make a beeline to latest restaurants? The truth is probably some mixture of all three. But it’s good to see restaurants recreate pre-pandemic bonhomie even on a weekday. Just like the newest one on the block–Eight.

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Located inside Palladium, this pan-Asian restaurant is throbbing with couples perfecting their selfie game, groups of friends reuniting over food and drinks, and families with elderly parents. The atmosphere is electrifying and the tables tightly packed. This means eavesdropping is inevitable, so is an intense stomach clench to slide through the gap. Thankfully I am seated at a cozy booth shaded with sheer curtains and bedecked with old world Chinese lanterns. Eight is founded by hospitality veteran Prashant Issar (of Ishaara fame) who has teamed up with the blazingly gifted chef Sagar Sarkar for this venture. Why the name Eight? Well, eight is considered the luckiest number in China.

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The interiors are warm, tanned, and have a lived-in feel to it. The menu offers recognisable favourites like sushi, sashimi, dim sums (the soupy xiaolongbao is terrific), baos, and curries. But there are also contemporary takes on familiar dishes such as crispy duck pan cakes, eggplant in tobanjan sauce, and smoked duck in spicy black bean. 

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First to arrive on the table is a plate of happily oil-soaked seafood tempura. Impossibly fresh fish fingers, prawns, calamari, and soft shell crabs generously cloaked in a batter that’s lacy with an audible crunch—it’s basically impossible to dislike. The presentation on a bed of fried vermicelli is stunning too. 

Eight has an extensive sushi menu and I tried the Bonbon a strikingly beautiful construct of minced shiitake, tempura bits, and vinegared rice—all tightly swaddled by a blanket of avocado petals. It’s buttery, crunchy, and umami-laden all at once. If you wish to continue on the raw journey, the blackfin tuna ceviche is a great option. Chef Sarkar puts so much zing and life into piquant, soy-soaked tuna slices. 

The mains hold considerable number of options for vegetarians. Eggplant and tofu cooked softly into a dreamy cushion and dunked in black bean sauce is a bowl to be devoured alongside jasmine rice. But I could make a meal of the robustly charred pork ribs slathered with sweet and savoury yakiniku sauce. Staples such as Thai curry and the Malaysian Malai curry also make an appearance on the ‘curries and wok’ section. There are thoughtfully conceived drinks as well, including a gin-based fruity cocktail named Let’s Berry Berry and a selection of sake.

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Sadly the desserts options are limited and the usual suspects of an Asian restaurant (think pretty mochi ice cream, tapioca pudding, mung bean cake, or mango sticky rice) are absconding. The choux pastry I tried was so parched that even the fresh cream and confit couldn’t rescue it. But the soon to launch patisserie could change that. Until then a well crafted cocktail from the bar is the best way to end a meal here. 

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Address: Eight, 2nd floor, East Zone, Phoenix Palladium, Lower Parel. Mumbai. Tel: 9152031614

Meal for two: Rs 2,000 onwards (without drinks)


Photo: Nivedita Jayaram Pawar

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