#SpoonTip: Mention Spoon University when making your reservation before April 30, 2017 at Kola House you'll receive 20% off for your party.

A few weeks ago, I got this lovely email from my favorite people at Spoon University with the subject, "Kola House Private Dinner." Immediately, two thoughts popped in my head when I saw this invite. 1) YAS! Free food FTW. God bless America and Spoon University. 2) Kola House? Why does that name sound so familiar? Isn't Kola like a soda drink?

After some quick research, I discovered a few interesting facts about this place. Primarily, that Kola House is the first restaurant that PepsiCo has ever launched. As the name suggests, the restaurant focuses on this special ingredient, the kola nut, throughout the drink and food menu. Plus, the kola nut, a caffeinated fruit from the kola tree, is actually the foundation of the beloved Pepsi-Cola drink recipe.

I didn't know what to expect, but the moment that I walked into the restaurant it was so much more than I could've ever imagined. And, spoiler alert, by the end of the night would end up being one of my new favorite NYC restaurants. Located in the heart of Chelsea, Kola House felt like the place where the best food-stagram stars and bloggers would frequent. I pretended like I was one of them for the evening, of course.

The Vibe

photo by Steve Martinek

I've been to several restaurants in the city with cool vibes before, but Kola House definitely stood its ground. With eye-catching, bold art pieces on the wall and a stylish chandelier that I'd normally expect to see in an art gallery, I was definitely digging the vibe. Plus, it wasn't pretentious at all; it was rather chic, slick, and classy.

While I was super into the interior design of the restaurant, I was still looking for signs or influences from the PepsiCo brand. Finally, I came across this masterpiece with iconic Pepsi bottles and I couldn't take my eyes off of it. I loved how the PepsiCo brand still added its flare to the restaurant in a subtle, yet artistic way. 

Overall, Kola House felt like a modern art lounge, but with epic food to go with it. It's the type of place where you could totally feel at home bringing your friends, but also impress them with your trendy hot spot knowledge. Aka: it would be the perfect place to catch up with friends and start a fun (LIT) night out. 


This drink is not an average cocktail you can find at any bar. I was pleasantly surprised by the balanced flavors that were both sweet and bitter. Pam, the coolest, fiercest mixologist whom I've ever met, explained to me that the flavors of the kola nut inspired this drink. It included grated kola nut, which created the unique bittersweet flavor at the end. She spoke about drinks with such intelligence and passion that could tell there was a lot of craft that went into this special cocktail... and I kind of wanted to be her best friend because of it.


seafood, sauce, meat, vegetable
photo by Steve Martinek

After being impressed by the kola nut cocktail, I couldn't wait to try the Kola House food. When I was seated there were two starters on the table: yellow carrot hummus and fig toast. 

As a big fan of figs, I went straight for the fig toast. The sweet and tart figs were perfectly balanced out with the creamy, fresh cheese underneath. The toast gave the dish next-level flavor and structure, as well as the maple-glazed hazelnuts, which provided a much-needed crunch in contrast to the soft figs. In short, it made me scream "YAS" after my first bite. 

The yellow carrot hummus carried a nice kick thanks to the chipotle harissa and additional smokey flavors from the smoked paprika. This tasty hummus was a perfect match with the pita bread and was so good that I wanted to spread it all over my face. 

First Course

Next up was the salmon tartare, which was a total game changer. Unlike many tartare dishes that I have tried, this champion had multi-dimensional texture, which was so satisfying.

The cubed crispy sushi rice was crunchy on the outside but chewy and moist on the inside. It was an excellent vehicle to deliver salmon pieces that were juicy and meaty. The scallion crème fraîche was surprisingly refreshing, whereas the jalapeño slices gave me that zing that made me want more. Each bite was truly unique and extraordinary.

Second Course

Confession time: I get pretty emotional and sometimes vocal when it comes to eating good food. And after trying this skillet strip steak, I was so excited that I think I may have scared the people who sat around me.

sushi, gastronomy, feast, wine
photo by Steve Martinek

Seriously, though... when I sliced a nice, chunky piece and finally bit into this juicy steak, the world stopped for a second. I couldn't hear or see anything. Although I was truly falling in love with that piece of steak, the real star of the dish was this sweet and sour shallot sauce that tied everything together. 


This dessert was as fabulous as it looked. This triple chocolate brownie chocolate cake literally almost knocked me out. It was already super moist and fudgy, and the chocolate sauce only intensified the chocolate party happening on my plate. If I had a choice, this might be what I'd choose for my last meal ever. The fresh raspberry paired well with the rich chocolate flavor, and it was any epic ending to my emotional, tasty ride at Kola House.

feast, beer, wine
photo by Steve Martinek

In case you couldn't tell, I was incredibly thrilled with my experience at Kola House. From delicious food to the bad-and-boujee vibes, Kola House blew me away. The restaurant also turns into a unique event space, which hosts concerts, featuring many talented artists like Jidenna

So, if you're into living your best life, and wanna a learn a little more about the best nut in the game, the kola nut, do it at Kola House. And don't forget to tag your Instagram with #KHxSpoon or mention @spoonuniversity and @kolahouse, so we can feel all of the FOMO. Insta or it didn't happen, amirite?

This article is sponsored Kola House.