Sid and Chand Sahrawat's New Ponsonby Bar KOL Opens Its Doors Next Week — Here's Your Sneak Peek

With a killer cocktail list, sleek interior and a menu paying homage to cooking over coals, the Sahrawats have once again worked their magic.
Sarah Templeton
Published on October 25, 2022

If you've also been stopping for a peer in through the windows of the iconic two-storey villa on the corner of Ponsonby Road and Hepburn Street over the last couple of months, you don't have to wait much longer — KOL is set to open its doors next week.

The former MooChowChow site has had a massive refurb from Auckland hospitality icons Sid and Chand Sahrawat (Cassia, Sid at the French Cafe) and is set to open as a new tandoor eatery and casual cocktail bar on Wednesday, November 2.

KOL (pronounced "coal) has been about a year in the making for the Sahrawats, who knew it was meant to be when they heard the space was becoming available.

"Chand and I have been talking about a casual cocktail bar and tandoor restaurant concept for a while now," says Sid.

"We wanted to create a space with an emphasis on great drinks paired with a menu where everything is cooked over charcoal or fire, a place where you can get great cocktails and food without sitting down for a full meal."

Josh Griggs

Upon opening, Sid will be joined in the kitchen by head chef Vicky Shah, who has a long history of working in Sahrawat's kitchens. He began as a young chef at Sidart in 2014 before moving to roles at Cassia, Sid at the French Café and then Ben Bayly's Ahi. Together, the pair have formulated a menu of tandoor-inspired snacks and dishes primarily cooked over fire, using New Zealand produce with an Indian influence.

Josh Griggs

Whether you're popping in for a bev and a bite or you want something a bit heartier you'll be well catered for. The food menu is split into bites, small and larger dishes — and dessert, of course. Many of the dishes are cooked in the wood-fired grill and tandoor, and the menu caters to most dietary requirements.

Cassia is well-known for its impressive liquor selection and that ethos will be carrying through to KOL — those after a drink will find an impressive gin menu, an extensive wine list including champagnes and drops from boutiques vineyard, a 'beer of the month' on tap and more. The cocktail list, curated by bar manager Mangesh Shah, includes a boozy take on a mango lassi and a twist on an old-fashioned — as well as an Instagram-worthy pomegranate and vodka concoction decorated with an aromatic, smoky cocktail bubble.

Josh Griggs

Chand has been in charge of the fit-out, which uses smoky raw tones to pay homage to the name. including a reception desk made to look like an oversized chunk of coal.

There will be outdoor seating if you want to people-watch on Ponsonby Road while sipping your cocktail and a private dining area upstairs that can be booked out for group events. Basically, the new opening is set to have all the ingredients needed for success — and hopefully, lift the curse of 23 Ponsonby Road.

KOL is set to open on Wednesday, November 2. It will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5pm (dinner only) and Friday to Sunday, 12pm until late, with a smaller bar menu on offer to bridge the hours between lunch and dinner.

Top images: Josh Griggs

Published on October 25, 2022 by Sarah Templeton
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