Pronounced ‘coal’ and inspired by the same word, fire and food are in perfect harmony at Ponsonby’s newest restaurant and cocktail bar ‘Kol’. The latest addition to restaurateurs Sid and Chand Sahrawat’s stable (which includes Fort Lane favourite Cassia and acclaimed Sid at the French Café), Kol has taken up the iconic corner residence formerly housing Rocco, MooChowChow, and most recently, 10Eleven by Marvel.
Just like other local outlets Alma and Milenta, Kol is centred on the concept of cooking over fire, yet this is where the similarities end and the offerings diverge. As Sid explains, through harnessing a coal tandoor, the smokiness and char achieved are vastly different to a gas-powered tandoor. “When you cook anything with spices and marinades on charcoal, the results are unparalleled”, he says.
As you’ve probably cottoned on, Kol is no ordinary Indian eatery. The Sahrawats are well-versed in changing perceptions around what Indian cuisine can be — exemplified by Cassia’s contemporary fare. As Kol’s head chef Vicky Shah says, there is so much more to Indian food than curry, which is why there isn’t one on Kol’s menu at all. You will still experience familiar flavours, depth and texture, just in a new way, with the meals enhanced by spirited cocktails.
With a menu split into bites, small and larger dishes, and desserts, there is something to suit every taste, whether you’re after a snack to complement your drink or a more substantial feast. Choosing your dishes may prove to be challenging, with each dish as alluring as the next. However, Sid anticipates diners will take to the Amritsari Prawn Cigar, Chicken and Saffron Kebab with Burnt Onion Raita, Charred Kumara Rizala and the Kid Goat Laccha. A multitude of options to satiate any appetite, we think.
While the menu has a strong Indian influence, Sid, Vicky and the team have looked to other cuisines to create avant-garde dishes. From the tasty skewered Quail Cafreal with Date Mole (featuring hints of onion, miso, chocolate and tamarind) to the smoky Beef Tartare with Charcoal and Khakra (crispbread) — the menu at Kol will extend your palate and offer a masterclass in flavour and culinary craft.
As one might expect, Kol is a place just as suitable for drinking as it is for devouring food — those who come for the cuisine may find they stay for the extensive cocktail, gin, Champagne, and wine lists. Situated in a villa on the corner of Hepburn Street and Ponsonby Road, we recommend sitting on the porch to watch the world go by while sipping on inspired beverages. Sid’s favourite is The Maroochi Old Fashioned with Macadamia, Bourbon and Bitters, taking a classic to new heights. He suggests patrons try The Arils — a thirst-quenching concoction of Vodka, Pomegranate, Verjus and Cardamom. Bar Manager Mangesh Shah has added theatre to The Arils by presenting the drink with a smoke bubble, making it a festive refreshment indeed.
Imbuing Kol’s earthy and raw vibes into the interiors, the fit-out was designed by Chand and completed by Michael Van Berkum of Conceptual Builders. There are plenty of seating options to immerse yourself in the outlet’s dynamic atmosphere, from the kitchen counter for prime viewing of the chefs in action, to banquettes, bar leaners, and a communal table. A chic, modern dining room seats 20 upstairs for larger gatherings.
Kol will undoubtedly be a must-visit destination this season, whether you fancy jovial drinks, a hearty feast, or something in-between. “It might sound indulgent, but we have created the type of place where Chand and I want to go for a drink and bite to eat. We hope everyone enjoys the concept, and we can’t wait to open the doors to Kol in Ponsonby”, professes Sid.
Officially opening on 2 November 2022, booking reservations are available here.
Wednesday – Thursday 5pm until late.
Friday – Sunday 12pm until late.
23 Ponsonby Road,