Food & Drink
Kolae Chicken-a southern Thai delicacy

Kolae: New southern Thai restaurant opening in Borough Market

Borough Market is gaining a brand new southern Thai restaurant this autumn.

Andy Oliver, 41, chef-owner of Som Saa, a northern Thai restaurant, is soon to open Kolae at the end of this month in Borough Market. 

Kolae, coined by Oliver as the sister restaurant to Som Saa, is focusing more-so on grilled and spicy dishes along with relishes, soups, pickles and ferments regional to the South of Thailand.

He is adamant about how the sub-regional cuisine of Thailand varies and the importance of representing said variety.

Oliver said: “It’s an exciting moment for us and on a personal level I’m just as excited about Thai food as I’ve ever been, and I have been cooking for a very long time.”

Tony Boden, 32, head chef for Kolae: “We are excited to be in that area doing something new and fresh and exciting, and we’re hoping the customers love it as much as we do”

Kolae is focusing on changing its menu in line with the produce available in both the UK and Thailand, as many of the specialty ingredients will be sent to the restaurant directly from the south of Thailand. 

Kolae Spicy Relish and Vegetables. Image Credit: Harriet Langford

The menu will continue to change with the seasons, with a few staple exceptions such as the Kolae Chicken- a coconut milk marinated grilled chicken dish.

Alongside the grilled dishes the menu will also consist of Thai relishes and seasonal veg along with pickles and ferments, and a variety of seasonal seafood dishes.

Unlike Som Saa, Kolae will focus on small plates, bearing the fast paced nature of Borough Market in mind, along with flavourful twists on cocktails and drinks to accompany the meticulously curated dishes. 

As for the venue, they’re taking over an old London coach house consisting of three floors and its own courtyard with a private dining room right at the top.

The open-fire grill aspect of the restaurant is bound to maintain a lively atmosphere.

Kolae Mussel Skewers, Seasonal Pickled Veg and Scallop. Image Credit: Harriet Langford

Thai food has expanded and diversified in London lately and both Kolae and Som Saa focus on highlighting the authentic sub-regional cuisines in Thailand, where there are varying differences between the dishes found in the South of Thailand as opposed to the North.

Southern Thai food is bolder and spicier in comparison to Northern Thai food.

Coconut-milk based curries and dishes are also more prominent in Southern Thai dishes. Whereas Northern Thai dishes usually utilise broth or stock for their curry dishes.

Northern Thai food features more Beef and Pork in their dishes whereas Southern Thai food feature more seafood into their dishes.

There are many more intricacies that follow within the regionality of Thai cuisine and it is often deterministic of geographical location, religious population, and cultural history.

Oliver said: “I think there’s always more room for representing more of Thailand’s diversity in cuisine.

“It’s really exciting, the Thai food scene has changed a lot in London since we started our first restaurant.”

“Thai food outside of Thailand has come a long way and there are more and more choices and interesting dishes out there now, and it really drives you on to work hard and try and come up with something interesting and fresh and you also learn from other people when creating new and exciting restaurants.”

In regards to sub regional cuisines, Boden said: “I think people have been ignorant of how vast cuisines are.

“So it’s nice to see that many more restaurants are popping up with focus on authentic regional foods and how we can focus on key ingredients and produce and make an exciting and new menu around it”

Hence, Kolae is set to broaden horizons of diners about the variations and intricacies of Thai food whilst providing an authentic representation of Thai dishes.

The opening day for Kolae is 27 October and the restaurant will provide booking updates on their instagram. The restaurant will also allow for some limited same-day-walk-ins.

The location is: 6 Park Street, London SE1 9AB.

Image credit: Harriet Langford

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