Mahi Eats: KOL - Woodfired Indian Food Edition
BY MAHI KUMAR
Who would have thought that wood fired Indian food could be so lit? I’m a fan of Kol, with a smashing 8/10 on the PQQ.
10 April 2023
This time on Mahi Eats we hit Kol - the new opening by Sid.
As an Indian woman, I generally try not to go out to eat Indian food. It seems a little too ironic, and why would I want to go out to eat something that I get at home quite often?
But as far as the Indian food game goes in Auckland, I am a big fan of Cassia by Sid and Chand Sahrawat. They’re also the creators of the French Cafe and Siddart which are divine high-end dining establishments. When the Sahrawat’s opened their doors to Kol in November 2022, my interest was piqued to say the least.
The premise of Kol is Indian food (with eurocentric flavours) cooked over fire to add the smoky flavour. Since it’s opening in November, I’ve visited twice and it has been hustling and bustling with people. That’s always a great sign of a popular restaurant.
What I love about Cassia is that it takes Indian food but reimagines it in a different way. It isn’t just basic curries but has a lot more flavour and excitement. Kol is no exception.
Located in a villa on the corner of Ponsonby road, Kol’s interior is spacious and sleek with an open kitchen and a sexy blue colour scheme. It feels like the perfect destination for either a date night or a catch up with a group of friends.
To start, we ordered two items on the bites menu.
The amritsari prawn toast ($10 per piece) which was small to start, but deliciously crunchy and had flavours of garam masala sneaking through in a subtle way.
The Vindaloo Fries ($15) were absolutely divine, I love a side of potatoes with any meal and these were seasoned with spice. The girls were getting a little flushed powering through the fries but with a side of aioli, it was *chef’s kisses*.
Next, we ordered the sweetcorn and paua chaat ($18), and as an avid eater of samosa chaat, this was like nothing like I’ve eaten before. The sweetcorn made the dish taste sweet while the paua lent to a slight saltiness. This was so well-balanced and really blew my mind despite the fact that I was apprehensive to order this.
Next, from the small dishes section we ordered the Tuna ($28), this was a sashimi styled tuna dish garnished and served with sorrel and Kohlrabi which gave it a bit more substance.
The Heritage tomatoes ($24) were delicious and zesty, but served with sheep’s curd to give it creaminess and some jalapenos for spice.
We ordered the broccoli ($24) which in all honesty was nothing special, being fired broccoli served with a miso sauce and black cardamom for a more piney flavour.
The star of this section however was the Oyster Mushrooms ($28). The mushrooms were earthy and soft to taste, but served with macadamia nuts to add crunch and seasoned to perfection with ghost chilli. I was taken to heaven with this one.
Finally, from the larger dishes, we ordered the Charred Kumara ($38), which was a large kumara served in a cashew cream paste. It was probably my fault for ordering a kumara as a main, but although it tasted good, it was nothing to write home about.
What left my mouth absolutely watering and wanting more of everything was the goats cheese, porcini mushrooms and truffle kulcha ($20). A kulcha is an indian bread to be eaten with curry that is stuffed with vegetables. A traditional kulcha is filled with onions or paneer at best, so this take on a kulcha was one of the sexiest I’ve ever seen. It was garlicky, the mushrooms were juicy with the taste of the truffle bursting on my tongue. It also had a bit of a kick to it, but not as much as the vindaloo fries.
Now, for the PQQ:
For Price, I give this place a 8. Look man, shit is expensive. $10 for a small piece of prawn toast that was so divine but devoured in a minute does hurt. But I feel like if you’re making the trip to dine out at a Sid establishment, it isn’t a cheap night out so you have to be somewhat mentally prepared.
For Quantity, I give this place an 8. Things like the tuna felt generous as raw fish dishes tend to be on the smaller side. Similarly, the vindaloo fries were stacked. But dishes like the oyster mushrooms, I could have done more of, whilst acknowledging that it was titled a “small dish”.
For Quality, I give this an 8 again. The food tasted unreal for the most part. The combination of ingredients was at an intellectual level, and as an Indian person, I was impressed by the dishes that were cultivated. It showed that thought had truly been paid to Indian classics and using fresh kiwi seasonal produce to enhance and embellish it.
Coming to an 8 on the PQQ scale, Kol is such a great new opening for you to hit on your next date night. With delicious cocktails and amazing food to share, you’ll have no complaints.