Cocktails & Mezcal at KOL Mezcaleria

 

Discreetly hidden beneath the restaurant of the moment KOL, KOL Mezcaleria transports its guests through a journey of Mexico’s most accomplished flavours, exploring innovative cocktails, rarefied mezcals, and small dishes.

Taking its inspiration from the celebrated mezcalerias at the heart of Mexican drinking culture, the space, which has been thoughtfully imagined by A-NRD Studios, infuses influence from Oaxaca, Guadalajara and Mexico City and nods to the environment echoed in the design, giving an earthy aesthetic to the bar.

The room is warmly lit and seats up to 56 covers, giving it an intimate feel. There’s a sense of a Mexican take on a speakeasy, the music is vibrant and adds to the vibe, and the main bar acts as a focal point to the space.

Rattan lamps and dark tones of wood contrast against the neutral backdrop of the walls, and folk art Alberijes sculptures are subtly dotted around the room. Colourful masks adorn the walls, adding to the character of this accomplished space.

The brainchild of Chef Santiago Lastra, KOL Mezcaleria is built on an ethos of championing small-scale producers from across Mexico. Together with Bar Manager Matthias Engelmann, they have curated amongst the most coveted collections of mezcals, tequilas, and spirits in London.

With Matthias at the helm of the inventive mixology showcased at both KOL and the mezcaleria, it comes as no surprise the restaurant won Cocktail List of the Year back in the 2022 National Restaurant Awards.

With a number of stints under his belt across Germany, where he grew up, to Paris before moving to London in 2017, where he took residency at Dalston’s Untitled, Matthias set out to create a cocktail menu for KOL that draws on Mexican heritage and seasonal British ingredients.

Highlights include Hot & Cold, a desert-come-cocktail blend of Don Café mezcal, white chocolate cream, cacao and woodruff, and KOL’s take on a Martini which sees Barsol pisco mixed with rum, dry vermouth and hints of rose.

Accompanying the drinks on offer, Chef Santiago has devised a menu of small plates, namely Antojitos, translating as ‘little cravings’. Giving a flavour of Mexican street food and the tastes of KOL’s cuisine, these devilishly delicious plates are moreish to say the least.

Cleverly complementary to the cocktails served, savoury dishes evoke the delicacies of Mexico’s most prominent flavours and hero dishes include Empandas with Beef shortrib and red onion xnipec and their delicious Quesadillas filled with Kentish Oaxacan cheese, truffle and crème fraiche.

Open from Tuesday dinner to Sunday lunch, KOL Mezcaleria is open for lunch 12pm – 2pm and dinner 6pm – 12:00 am.

www.kolrestaurant.com

Text by Jaz Grewal.