Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of Kolae

Gold Award

Borough Market has been gently reasserting its position as one of London’s premiere dining destinations in recent years. Wander down Stoney Street and you’re spoilt for choice by the likes of El Pastor, Rambutan, Elliot’s and Bao, and that’s before you swing a left towards new-kid-on-the-block Kolae, or the new Borough Yards development where smoke wafts from the big open grills at Parrillan.

That’s all good for diners, but means plenty of competition for Kolae - a new Thai concept from the founders of the excellent Som Saa in Spitalfields. The specific technique under the microscope here is in fact called kolae (or golae, or gaw lae), where ingredients are skewered, dunked in coconutty curry marinades, then grilled over open flames.

The delicious potential of kolae cooking is shown off by the signature chicken bamboo skewer. The sugars in the marinade catch over the flames, multiplying their complex flavours and dotting the hefty chicken thigh with angry black char marks. Inside the chicken is tender, juicy, utterly delicious. The grilled mussel skewers might even go a step better, applying the same philosophy to a neat line of meaty molluscs.

There’s plenty more good stuff on the menu, from a rich, spicy venison curry to crisp herb fritters, hit with a dash of piquant fermented chilli. Offering a solo dessert is a risky business but we can’t find fault with this one, which combines pandan sticky rice, coconut sorbet, roasted peanuts and jackfruit in a few delicious mouthfuls. Best of all, Kolae is excellent value - nothing on the menu clocks in at over £20 and we ate dinner for under £50 a head, which isn’t easy to do in Borough Market.

The space covers three floors, from a buzzy downstairs open kitchen and bar to a plant-laden upstairs dining room. The team has done a great job with the design, blending some industrial chic with some exotic foliage, and affable service whizz up and down ferrying bowls of curry, skewers and cocktails between floors. The cocktails, too, are excellent, particularly the lemongrass and pandan rum milk punch. It’s clear that real thought has gone into every aspect of the experience at Kolae, and it might just be one of our favourite openings of 2023.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cool, Unique
SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Dates, Group dining [8+]


Kolae is a bar and grill in Borough Market, celebrating the cuisine of Thailand’s southern provinces. The restaurant comes to us, via a successful crowdfunding campaign, from the creators of Som Saa - a beloved Thai restaurant in Spitalfields that serves street style Thai food in a lively warehouse setting. Like its older sibling, Kolae is set in a repurposed building, this time taking the form of an old London coach house.

The restaurant boasts 80 covers split between three floors and includes an intimate open-air courtyard dining space and a private dining area at the top of the building. The restaurant is designed in a rustic-urban style and the kitchen is kitted out with all the traditional equipment required to make authentic Thai-cuisine.  

Kolae is named after a style of cooking (also known as Golae, Galae or Gaw Lae) developed in the Southern provinces of Thailand that uses a grill technique to prepare delicious cuisine that is often coated in a curry-like coconut marinade. Naturally the menu is centred around the grill and features speciality dishes, such as the half-chicken marinated in lemongrass, fresh turmeric and black pepper cooked over a roaring fire. The restaurant offers seasonal fish and seafood and a selection of vegetarian specials. Salads are made to order and prepared in the traditional way with a pestle and mortar. Ingredients intended to wake up the taste buds are used in the fiery nam phrik relish.  

The drinks menu is concise, featuring a refreshing array of cocktails utilising a selection of fresh Thai ingredients. A list of 15-20 wines (most of which are served by the glass), and a few beers and ciders are also available to purchase.  


Who are the owners of the restaurant?

The restaurant is run by Mark Dobbie and Andy Oliver, who also run popular Thai restaurant Som Saa in Spitalfields.

Helpful? 0

Do you need to book a table?

Yes, it is recommended that you book a table before visiting.

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6 Park Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 9AB

Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-15:00
Wed 12:00-15:00
Thu 12:00-15:00
Fri Closed
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
Mon 17:00-22:00
Tue 17:00-22:30
Wed 17:00-22:30
Thu 17:00-22:30
Fri Closed
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
All day
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri 12:00-22:30
Sat 12:00-22:30
Sun 12:00-21:00


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