Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie — the guys behind Spitalfields Market’s popular Som Saa — open new Southern Thai bar and grill, Kolae, which is named after an open-flame style of cooking and located in an old London coach house at historic Borough Market.
Translating elements of Thai culture into a contemporary aesthetic language, design practice A-nrd Studio have created a modern yet homely warehouse eatery complemented by a material and colour palette which captures the aesthetic of South-eastern Asian architecture.
Set across three floors, the 350 square metre, 80 cover restaurant (with cosy courtyard dining out front) offers an authentic experience with nods to Old Town Bangkok, the designers translating and juxtaposing stylistic elements such as decorative timber framework, textured glass, stone, natural textiles, ceramics and leather.
Crossing multiple levels and retaining a bona fide vibe can be a challenge, but as A-nrd Studio’s founder Alessio Nardi told us “there is a real cohesion across the space. Whether you’re perched at the bar or sat on the top floor in the loft, Kolae feels convivial, buzzy, welcoming, and authentically designed and we hope that diners feel truly transported when they step inside.”
Deliberately minimalist with a modern, earthy, and honest textural feel and warmth, Kolae’s interiors are as favourable as the menu, which is cooked using the kolae technique and includes plates such as the signature half kolae chicken marinated in a lemongrass, turmeric and black pepper sauce; phuket style soy-braised middlewhite belly and ribs; and the kolae hogget chop.
For Southern Thai focussed fare seen through the lens of London’s old grills, Kolae is sure to do for Borough Market’s hungry revellers what Som Saa did for those just a little north east in Spitalfields.