WHERE WE ATE
The Cuisine team checks out restaurants around the country.
Fire, food and fine cocktails at Sid Sahrawat’s newest eatery in Auckland, a revamp for one of Wellington’s hotel finediners, and stylish, casual fare showcasing the very best the capital has to offer.
IN BRIEF Glamour, glitz and fab food to fit any mood. WHY CHOOSE THIS
RESTAURANT? There’s no risk attached to a visit to Kol. Owners Sid and Chand Sahrawat have a welldeserved reputation for running top-notch establishments (Cassia at Skycity and Sid at the French Café) that deliver consistent quality from the moment you walk in. The décor is chic and contemporary, the service typically on point and the food always of a high standard. Kol is one of the hottest spots in Auckland right now so if you want to experience what the fashionable are into, a night at Kol is just the ticket.
ABOUT THE MENU As you would expect, food takes centre stage at Kol. The menu acknowledges Sid’s Indian heritage with its regionally inspired dishes while delivering choice to satisfy those looking for an alternative. But it is the decision by Sid and his team to cook with a coal-fired tandoor that gives the dishes an added dimension, more intensity, more smokiness and more interest. The Kol kitchen team makes a conscious effort to demonstrate how Indian food is far more than curry, so you won’t find a butter chicken or a tikka marsala on the menu. But the sophisticated layering of marinades and spices permeates all of the menu options of bites, small and larger plates. Sharing is popular but we would be reluctant to part with even a small portion of the goat cheese, porcini and truffle kulcha. It really is that good. Another showstopper is a dish of vindaloo fries with mustard seed aioli. Be warned: order the more subtle dishes first as the fries tend to take over. Another classy favourite is the spiced lamb ribs with date and gunpowder. This is Sid at his complex best. How he manages
to retain the taste of lamb while blanketing it in date and gunpowder remains a tantalising mystery.
ABOUT THE TEAM This is a team steeped in experience, brought together by the Sahrawats with the aim of ensuring synergy and consistency. Head chef Vicky Shah has worked with Sid at both Cassia and Sid at the French Café so they know each other’s style intimately. Vicky has also worked for Ben Bayly at
Ahi, so he knows what brings in the crowds. A second Shah in the crown is head bartender Mangesh Shah who is hugely experienced in the Sahrawat way of doing things, having worked with the team at both Cassia and Sidart. Mangesh is creative and technically strong and this comes through in Kol’s astutely curated drinks list.
OF NOTE Cocktails have been elevated to an artform at Kol. We can’t imagine much better than sitting on the Kol deck on a balmy afternoon, looking westward toward the setting sun, fancy-schmancy drink in hand. Our favourites are the vodka-based Agurkas with its dash of fenugreek, and The Monkey Line, a whisky, pandan and grapefruit sensation.
23 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland
Check website for opening hours Shared plates $15-$42
021 379 700, kolauckland.co.nz
IN BRIEF A Wellington finedining institution bounces back. WHY CHOOSE THIS
RESTAURANT? As a deluxe city hotel the Intercontinental Wellington is no stranger to fine dining and its inhouse restaurant has been refreshed and rebranded as GPO, a nod to the post office that used to occupy the site. It’s a canvas on which executive chef Carl Maunder creates refined dishes championing our country’s top produce, matched by an impressive cellar.
ABOUT THE MENU GPO is a showcase for the most innovative high-end New Zealand producers: the likes of Bostock organic chicken and Cloudy Bay clams may now be
REVIEWS CRISPY BITS EDITOR’S BITES
Slick & Sassy Media Ltd