Kol is a restaurant you need to go to.
That’s it. That’s the review.
But for the sake of our job security and in case you enjoy reading our jolly little thoughts on an epiphany-inducing taco, then by all means please do read on.
An upmarket Mexican restaurant that revolves around a buzzing open kitchen that offers six, eight, and nine-course tasting menus, your meal here will begin with a welcome broth. If you’re thinking snooze, boring, thank you, next, then think again. This is no petty little jus to be downed in the hopes it’ll stop the sniffles you’ve been nurturing for the past decade, but a fiery Ribena-coloured brew packed with arbol chilli, fermented beetroot, and a hearty dose of Mezcal that will hit you wham, bam full force. Each sip will confuse and delight. You should know that Kol is good at that. Like, Brian Cox delivering the C word good at that.
From the rich blob of cashew mole hidden beneath razor thin slices of squid to the surprise arrival of crispy pork skin in the carnitas, each element of their tasting menu creates a sort of delirious fever dream where you have absolutely no idea what you just ate but you do know that it was very, very good. Then the next dish arrives. Your infatuation moves from a banging pine mayo to the pistachio on top of the crab chalupa until your meal ends and you find yourself out on Marylebone’s Seymour Street, back on their booking website in the hopes of being reunited with that broth. Could chucking some Don Julio in your Heinz cream of tomato satisfy your craving until then? It won’t, but it might be a hot minute before you’re able to get back here so whatever you need to do to soothe that new Kol-shaped hole in your heart, we support you.
Outside of the fact that a meal here is likely to set you back a minimum of £80 per person, booking a table will not be easy. Their warm, buzzing terracotta dining room - and their intimate chef’s table experience downstairs - has been packed out since it opened in the miserable, significant-meal hot mess that was October 2020. This could be down to the fact that the head chef was responsible for a Noma Mexico pop-up that got every Very Important Food Person horny. Or because we’re a nation where the majority of our Mexican food options boil down to glorified Old El Paso kits whilst this place is transforming a traditional custard dish into the kind of thing that tastes like Gucci has finally branched out into granola. Our money is on the latter.
photo credit: Charlie McKay
From time to time, all this creative ingredient play does miss the mark. Case in point: the chocolate and truffle mole supplement dish that tastes like a remix that just went a little too far. But you know what, Kol gets away with it because it’s a fine dining restaurant with a sense of humour. The little ceramic salt pots in the shape of a merry armadillo. The snazzy pair of scissors you’re handed to chop up a whole glazed octopus tentacle. The branded brown leather pouch that keeps your tortillas warm and is the proud winner of Item We Would Most Like To Steal From A Restaurant. And of course, the cheerful service from cool people with single-line tattoos and big smiles.
A meal at Kol is delightful in a daring way that frankly, doesn’t give a shit if you were planning on coming here to get involved in some nachos. Kol is all about eating unforgettable food in a rust red booth we would quite happily retire in and live out the rest of our days beneath a gold lampshade that looks like the boujiest of boujie floppy sun hats. If you’re wondering who to bring, the answer is simple. Anyone you like enough to share it with. Your trendy best friend who won’t care that between each course you take a picture of the bottom of every ceramic dish to see if you can buy it online. The love of your life who just so happens to be vegetarian but will also be catered to perfectly. Or even that client who never ever sends you aggy emails on a Monday morning. They’ll be impressed. After all, this is a restaurant that is therapeutic in its ability to please that part of your soul that craves sunshine and a light jacket. See, we told you that Kol was a restaurant you needed to go to.
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The Seasonal Tasting Menus
Once you’ve spent valuable hours of your young life trying to get a table at Kol - okay, it’s not that bad, our screen time app regularly informs us we’ve spent four decades on Twitter and at least you get an absolute smoke show of a mezcal margarita at the end of this - prepare to have your mind blown by everything you eat here and the fact that it’s all made using British produce. This seems like a terrible idea for a Mexican restaurant, considering Mexico has endless months of sunshine, tequila, miles of sugarcane, and Salma Hayek, whilst we have eight months of rain, Granny Smiths, and Mr Bean. Somehow this doesn’t wind up in sad dishes entitled Grilled Lincolnshire Cauliflower (Please Pretend The Rosemary Is Chilli Babe) but quality fish, truly perfect tortillas, and a glorious gooseberry and pear salsa. No matter what’s on their changing tasting menus it will leave you thinking, alright show off.