Tuesday, 14 August 2012

SoLIta Bar and Grill

The prospect of eating at SoLIta had my mouth salivating, my stomach rumbling, and my arteries looking frantically for the nearest exit...



Artery-assault: deep fried Mac 'n' Cheese
After attending a press review lunch at SoLIta, I initially wrote a small preview for tasteofmanchester.com, with the view to writing a full blog post soon after. Then the shit hit the fan and every food blogger in Manchester was reviewing the place. So, I decided to wait for the storm to subside, bide my time, then give my two cents, for what it's worth.


Out of the ashes of Sole, SoLita is born.


The restaurant brings the bar and grill concept to the Northern Quarter for the first time. The idea is to serve comforting, homely food in a New York-Italian vein, or what owner Dom Sotgiu understatedly calls ‘posh kid’s food’.

The menu is a carnivore’s dream - even the ice cream, made by Cabrelli’s, comes with bacon candy. Nibbles come in the form of fried chicken skin, a lighter alternative to pork scratchings; starters include bacon jam on sourdough, deep-fried cod balls, and the amazing pulled-pork sundae, which is sure to become a firm favourite among customers.


Pulled pork sundae



For the main courses, Dom has chosen some of the cheaper, tastier cuts and made them shine with the help of the Inka charcoal oven, which produces results that rival the best outdoor barbecue. The Short-ribs, aka Jacob’s Ladder, are slow-cooked for two days before being finished in the Inka, a recipe for deliciously tasty meat. A hanger steak (the tail end of the sirloin), notoriously difficult to cook, is exquisite and a steal at just over £16.

Other standout dishes include the behemoth deep-fried mac ‘n’ cheese burger, which has to be seen to be believed, and the sumptuous beef and bone marrow burgers on a perfectly light, yet sturdy demi-brioche bun. Even the side salad and chargrilled vegetables are brimming with flavour.



Cheeseburger

Desserts come in the form of ‘deep-fried coke’ (coke-flavoured churros), cheesecake, and the astoundingly good chargrilled pineapple with coconut ice cream. Dom has also been lucky to get hold of some fine mixologists and baristas and with a fine range of cocktails there’s more to the place than just meat.

SoLIta is not somewhere I can imagine eating very often however. This is perfect comfort food (read: 'having had a few too many beers the night before' food). The salt, fat, and sugar will satisfy all your desires for excess. Not to be indulged in more than once in a while but very good when you do.

They will undoubtedly have stiff competition from Almost Famous and Home Sweet Home but I do hope that the owners can make a go of this difficult dining spot.

Deep fried 'Coke'
Solita Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon