Kolae. Credit: Ben Broomfield


Jason Allen 02/11/23


Kolae | A Southern Thai Restaurant From The People Behind Som Saa

We’d usually start an article with a joke, pun, or tortured metaphor, but in this case we’ll just cut straight to the chase: Kolae is fantastic.

And the fact that it’s fantastic doesn’t really come as a surprise, but more like a delicious inevitability given that this is the next place from Mark Dobbie & Andy Oliver, the guys behind som saa. Which, if you’ve been, you’ll know as easily one of the best Thai restaurants in London.

You’ll find Kolae around the corner from the big Monmouth Coffee flagship in Borough Market, where it occupies a three story, 80-cover space that was once an old coach house. Now, it does not resemble an old coach house – step inside, and you’ll find a buzzing temple of industrial chic, with waiting staff flitting seamlessly between soft wooden tables & coffee coloured seats, all under the glow of fabric-shaded lamps. (Honestly, the service is remarkably fast at times, the team’s chemistry is terrific). And while the austere greys of the walls might seem a little cold, the atmosphere is thankfully embracingly warm & inviting.


The food is all underpinned by the ‘kolae’, a Southern Thai cooking technique that involves coating ingredients in a coconut marinade and grilling them over open flames. Thus, things start with kolae skewers of tender mussels, which are absolutely drenched in flavour, and benefit greatly from already being satisfyingly de-shelled. Or there’s a bowl of fried prawn head which – hear us out – might seem sqeam-inducing to the less adventurous eater, but which are beautifully crisp & crunchy, and buried in a fragrant hill of turmeric & garlic.


Things progress on the tightly curated menu (there are just a dozen dishes in all, counting small, large & side plates) with the likes of zingy kolae chicken, tender hogget, and fiery red squash, or steaming bowls of pepper curry, sweet soy-braised middlwhite pork, and minced prawn with cumin leaf. And when your server asks you how spicy you like things, do NOT try to look brave – because the sour mango salad is the work of a sadistic tastebud arsonist, in the best possible sense.


There’s only one dessert, with ingredients that sound like they really don’t belong together (pandan sticky rice, coconut sorbet, and jackfruit) but which ends up being considerably more then the sum of its parts. And to wash it all down you’ll find around 15 wines, a handful of beers and ciders, and cocktails made with fresh Thai ingredients. Try the pickled mango dirty martini.

Ionically, it’s a very clean flavour.


NOTE: Kolae is open now, Tuesday to Sunday. You can book a table right HERE.

Kolae | 6 Park Street, London SE1 9AB

Kolae isn’t alone in the neighbourhood… Check out the best restaurants in London Bridge


6 Park Street, Borough, SE1 9AB

9.4 | Amazing