Words and photography by Josie
Translated by Angel Pu
16, Alley 14, Lane 150, XinYi, Rd, Taipei City
Hours: Weekdays 11:30 am-9:30 pm，Weekends 9 am-9:30 pm
No service charge weekday lunch hours; for the rest hours is 10%. Credit cards not accepted.
English menu available.
New Orleans—or Nola—has a mixed cultural background boasting hundreds of years of tradition. Its unique culture, paired with various agricultural products and seafood, has created a world-renowned soul food and soul music. Located in a area surrounded by high-end buildings and two lush parks, the recently opened Nola Kitchen, run by Tony and his wife April, provides authentic and accessible “soul food” for Taiwan diners. “I want to provide a relaxed restaurant which provides authentic New Orleans snacks and home dishes,” said Tony, and by these dishes he means Chicken & Waffles, Blackened Fish, Jambalaya, Gumbo, Beignet, and Chicory Coffee, all of which are very hard to find in Taiwan, and which has earned the approval of many international diners.
A. Blackened Fish (NT$420), one of the most famous Cajun dishes, is an iconic dish of the famous New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme, who promoted “blackening” cooking skills. Tony uses fish steak coated with butter and Cajun spices and then fries it using an iron pot in 260 Celsius degree oil. It only takes about 10 seconds to brown each side and the coating will become crispy and black. Do not worry about the “terrifying” look, it’s actually very soft and chewy on the inside.
B. One of the most famous “soul food” from the south side of the U.S. has to be Chicken & Waffles (NT$280). Nola’s Chicken & Waffles includes crispy boneless chicken coated in New Orleans traditional spices paired with warm, soft waffles topped with sweet, aromatic maple syrup. Try learning from the locals and place the fried chicken between the waffles.
C. When Tony came back from studying the U.S., he couldn’t find gumbo, which he really loved. That’s is what prompted him to think of opening an authentic New Orleans restaurant. Gumbo is a very common stewed dish that includes over a dozen spices, various vegetables such as okra, onions, green peppers, celery, and seafood such as squid, clams, and shrimps. Because Louisiana is the main place of production of rice in the U.S., people like to add in rice to this classic country side home dish.
D. Only available on the weekend brunch menu, Nola Classic (NT$280) features a classic dessert and drink pairing—Beignet (a-la-carte NT$120/4 pieces) and Chicory Coffee (cream NT$120/ black NT$100). The most famous New Orleans restaurant that provides Beignet is Cafe du Monde, founded in 1862. People from all over the country and the world come to this 24-hour coffee shop for its Beignet and Chicory Coffee. Now you don’t have to fly all the way to New Orleans for this unique coffee, all you need to do is to visit Nola.
E. From a actuary to a restaurant owner, Tony choose to have a life for his own instead of just making money for someone else. Sometimes he just sits on the couch of the restaurant and plays guitar while reminiscing about his life as a student in America or enjoying some father-children time.