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Test Driving Kol Mezcaleria - the Michelin-starred restaurant's hidden bar

roomSnagging either a bar stool or table at this Mezcaleria means your evening is already going well...

What can you tell us about Kol Mezcalaria?

As you may suspect, it's part of Kol in Marylebone where chef Santiago Lastra has won huge acclaim for his approach to Mexican cooking (and won them a Michelin star in double-quick time). That main restaurant is upstairs, but head down the winding staircase and you'll find Kol Mezcalaria in the basement alongside their chef's dining room. 

The Mezcaleria is their "homage to the magic of Mexico’s mezcal bars" and, much like the ethos of the restaurant upstairs, marries Mexican and British ingredients into the cocktails.

So what can I drink down there?

Mezcal, of course - but we'll get to that in a bit. The main event is the cocktail list - which is seasonal and split by specific ingredients. So on our visit, there was a section for "Sorrel and hop" and another for "rhubarb and pear". For each taste pairing, you can choose a cocktail with a Mexican spirit (tequila or mezcal) or one with vodka, whisky, gin and the like. 

Here's a look at what we had: 

roomThe Sour (Leyenda Cupreata mezcal, blanco tequila, hop distillate, sorrel, £15) and the Americano (Montelobos ensamble mezcal, Campari, Punt e Mes, pear, rhubarb, cider, £14).

roomMartini (Volcan blanco tequila, Dolin dry vermouth, pine distillate, cucumber, £15) - hands down one of the best iterations of martinis we've had recently - and Fizz (Oaxacan rum, Discarded vermouth, Hendrick’s absinthe, sorrel, Keller lager beer, egg white, £15).

Out of all the drinks, the Martini gets the top marks, but generally speaking, these are at the high end of London's bars from a quality standpoint. All well worth a look. 

What about food?

Down in the Mezcaleria you'll find a small Antojitos menu (that translates as "little cravings") which are small snacks that are chef Lastra's take on Mexican street food. If you haven't had a chance to score a booking at the main Kol restaurant yet, these are well worth trying to get a sense of what the restaurant is doing. 

Here's a taste of that:

roomTostada - Enoki mushroom, fermented gooseberries, habanero (£6) and yes, handily divided into two to stop us fighting over it.

roomQuesadilla - stuffed with Kentish Oaxaca cheese, truffle, king oyster mushroom (£9).

roomCeviche - Scottish Langoustine, rhubarb, sesame (£14), a really luxurious ceviche dish with pitch-perfect texture and taste.

And what about that mezcal? 

For their agave menu (Mezcal is made from agave, which you probably already knew), the bar has specifically teamed up with small producers with a view to creating a menu that covers a specifically wide ground of flavour profiles and there's a really large selection on offer. If you know what you're going for, then you'll find bottles ranging from £42 (and there's a lot in that price range) with glasses starting at £12. Should you wish to really splash out, you'll find a Clase Azul Ultra-Extra Añejo Tequila which comes in at £1990 (even a glass will set you back £520). 

If, like us, you need a helping hand - then we strongly recommend you just let them take over and let them also take you through the history of Mezcal - it's really worth it. We tried two glasses which really showcased the difference in flavours: 

roomTwo of their own bottles of Mezcal, where the labels give you a hint at what to expect from the flavours. So there's more of a fruit profile to the one on the left and something more foresty for the one on the right. A true showcase of how mezcals can be wildly different. You can also buy them online.

Overall thoughts

Kol is one of London's best restaurants, so it makes sense that their bar is knocking it out of the park too. We enjoyed memorably good cocktails alongside standout bar food. A visit here couldn't be recommended more highly.

Hot Dinners were guests of KOL Mezcaleria. Prices are correct at the time of booking.  

 

More about Kol Mezcaleria

Where is it? 9 Seymour St, London W1H 7BA

How to book: Book online

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @kol.mezcaleria.

 

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