Kitty Ko offers divine cocktails

California Maki

Kitty Ko, the brainchild of hotelier Keshav Suri, is an LGBT-friendly lounge that sits on the sixth floor of The Lalit Ashok. The rooftop lounge offers barricaded views of the city and has an extensive wine and bar menu. The ‘Ko’ half of the name derives from Oko, the pan-Asian restaurant across the lounge on the same floor. The food is mostly served from the kitchens of Oko.

Kitty Ko’s menu features mostly Asian starters and finger food to accompany the bar menu, including sushi and uramaki, among Asian regulars of pork belly, spring rolls, tempura, and regular bar favourites of fries, nachos and cheese balls. My vegetarian self was not entirely sure if there would be enough to sample, but the sampling menu featured some interesting not-quite-fusion options. First up was crispy fried sweet corn, delicately laced with garlic and deep-fried curry leaves. Then came the vegetarian sushi plate, featuring avocado-wrapped rice rolls, cucumber rice rolls wrapped in seaweed, and bell pepper rice rolls. These were served with a dipping sauce and wasabi paste. Of the three, the avocado rice roll was delightful, picking up on the umami of the sauce and the pungency of the wasabi, neither overpowering the other, and yielding to a surprising fried garlic crunch mid-bite. The spring rolls with the sweet chilli sauce was nothing to write home about – you’ve had one spring roll, you’ve had them all.

The cocktails were a revelation, though. Again, upon request, I was served three samplers and two full cocktails. The Nandini, a “silky concoction of Tanqueray with elder flower syrup and a hint of lemon” looked a bit clumsy, with pearls of pomegranate floating at the bottom of the glass. Nothing about the cocktail registered, either on the palate or memory. The Lalit, their signature cocktail, was another story altogether. A potent mix of Grey Goose with peach schnapps and peach iced tea, with a twist of orange peel – full-bodied, served in a Martini glass, my pick of the night. My first choice, one that I had just a tequila glass shot of, called Death in Venice was what I would call silky: Campari with grapefruit bitters and prosecco. I swear the bubbles sang.

Dinner was low-key at Oko: Thai green curry with sticky rice, and I discovered a new ingredient called the pea aubergine, a pea-sized eggplant somewhere between an olive and a caper in size, adding bite and texture to the otherwise creamy curry. We topped it off with a traditional Thai dessert served in a shaved, hollowed-out coconut shell. Called ‘Tub Tim Grob’, this had water chestnuts lost at sea in an oceanic serving of sweetened coconut milk, into which you ladle shaved ice before tucking in. I went ‘mm’ at the first spoonful and didn’t stop until the last.

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Kitty Ko offers divine cocktails

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