Hospitality Business Magazine

Sahrawat’s third restaurant KOL opens November 2

Following an extensive refit of the premises, Sid & Chand Sahrawat’s third establishment, KOL, will open for dinner on Wednesday, November 2.

Located in an iconic villa on the corner of Ponsonby Road and Hepburn Street, KOL, (pronounced coal), is a bar and eatery, serving innovative cocktails alongside an extensive champagne, wine, and beverage list.

The drinks list is complemented by a selection of tandoor-inspired snacks and dishes primarily cooked over fire, using the best New Zealand produce with an Indian influence.

KOL’s “fire” element and food menu take their inspiration from the Indian chula. An old form of cooking with firewood over a mud or clay stove, it pays homage to a traditional way of cooking over fire.

An impressive team has been assembled for the new venture. Head chef Vicky Shah joins Sid in the kitchen, bringing with him a deep knowledge of cooking over fire. He has a long history of working in Sahrawat’s kitchens, starting as a young chef at Sidart in 2014 before moving to roles at Cassia, Sid at the French Café and then to Ben Bayly’s Ahi.

Prateek Arora will oversee front of house operations for both Cassia and KOL after working in several roles at Cassia over the past eight years. Arora has curated KOL’s extensive drinks list, while Mangesh Shah (Cassia & Sidart) rejoins the Sahrawats as bar manager, having recently been awarded Best Bartender (Sidart) in the 2022 Metro Restaurant of the Year Awards.

KOL-Dry aged duck, black garlic, pickles. Photo credit Josh Griggs

The food menu is split into Bites, Small & Larger dishes, and Dessert, catering for those who simply want a snack to complement their drink, as well as those settling in for an afternoon or evening and looking for something more substantial. Many of the dishes are cooked in the wood-fired grill and tandoor and the menu caters to most dietary requirements. 

Bites include the Amritsari prawn cigar, named after a city in the north-western Indian state of Punjab; Vindaloo fries aioli; Te Makutu Oysters natural or coal roasted in ghee and green garlic butter; and crunchy Chickpea and hempseed croquettes.

While the menu has a strong Indian influence, Sid, Vicky, and the team have drawn on other cuisines to create some unique dishes. The Quail cafreal with date mole (with hints of onion, miso, chocolate and tamarind) is just one of the tasty skewers on offer in the Small Dish section alongside the Oyster mushrooms with ghost chilli and macadamia and the Grilled cabbage with smoked tomato and hazelnuts. Other dishes include an impossibly tender Chicken and saffron kebab with burnt onion raita, and Pork Belly with Goan chorizo & unripe mango. Raw dishes include the refreshing Kingfish, carrot kanji and citrus and the smoky Beef tartare with charcoal and khakra (a Gujarati version of tortilla/crispbread, made with flour, spices, ghee, and lentils).

Larger dishes include the mouth-watering Market fish with brown butter and charred greens, the fish served wrapped up in nasturtium leaves with a beurre blanc sauce, a take on Patrani Macchi, a Parsi style steamed fish dish. Also featured, the Eastherbook duck with black garlic, a delicious Kid goat laccha (flaky paratha flatbread) and a Goat’s cheese, porcini & truffle-stuffed kulcha bread.

The Sahrawats, who own and operate restaurants Cassia and Sid at The French Café, had been discussing a bar concept for some time when Sid, who won outstanding Chef at the 2022 Lewisham Awards on October 23, heard the Ponsonby site was available.

KOL will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5pm (dinner only) and Friday to Sunday, 12pm until late, with a smaller bar menu on offer to bridge the hours between lunch and dinner.