KOL is unlike dining anywhere else in London. This trendy Mexican restaurant offers a true oasis and a little slice of paradise. In this calming space highly skilled staff operate and set the tone that while you’re here - even if you only stay for an hour - you’re de vacaciones. Nothing is too much trouble.
With carefully considered plating it’s not hard to see why the menu, what felt like just moments after the restaurant’s opening, appeared in near its entirety all over Instagram. This is photo-friendly food that actually manages to tick both the style and substance boxes. Diners are welcomed to the table with a broth that magically has the whole substance of a meal in liquid form - warm, rich, luxurious, with the fulness of beef stock and subtle chilli warmth.
The kitchen sits in the middle of the room and there’s something reassuring about seeing your food be finished right in front of you by a team who works together in unison as if everyone in it is performing some kind of culinary endurance sport where concentration can’t be broken. Dishes are put together with precision using atomisers, tongs and tweezers for that signature fine-dining finish.
Reflecting the ambiance, warmth is woven through the menu, with chilli used carefully in countless forms – from the accompaniments on the vegetarian kohlrabi cevice through to the guajillo mayonnaise accompanying the seared lamb tostadas which is almost like a tartare. It’s difficult to eat dishes like this and not feel joyful, it’s clever and its curious and flavour is reinforced throughout. For example, the main short rib of beef is accompanied by carrots cooked in the fat for all-out descendance, while a smooth-as-silk corn husk ice cream is served with a steamed chocolate maize cake for a sweet, buttery finale.
Everything about KOL feels considered, even down to drinks list selections which champion smaller brands and present softs made in-house, like the hibiscus and beetroot agua fresca. The packed dining room is an indicator that the team here are giving the people what they want, a refreshing escape from reality – even if only all too brief.