Solita, Preston

I want you to know that I do eat out more often than I put on my blog as a rule, but I like to try and keep it to at least one new post a month, that keeps me happy. A lot of the times I don’t write about where I’ve eaten is of the food is average. You know, acceptable… the sort of food that just fills a hole. I get no enjoyment from writing about average food, there’s only so many ways you can say “it was ok” as adjectives for that middle ground are hard to find. There’s plenty for the superb, extraordinary, fantastic, marvellous, awesome, out of this world and first class… and there’s probably even more for the dismal, terrible, awful, horrendous, dire, ghastly, offensive meals.

Thankfully, this is my blog and these are my rules. I can pass on a post if I don’t feel like it. And on account of not enjoying writing about the average, I was going to pass up on writing about this visit to Solita.

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We strolled through the recently renovated Winckley Square to Solita, looking all atmospheric through the bare trees and were seated at our table in the buzzing downstairs dining room.

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One thing that Solita has never let me down on is starters, I think this is seriously their strongest point. Sara had the brilliant Pulled Pork Sundae, which has had the addition of airy puffed up pork crackling added since we last tried it! As always the 60/40 mash was luxurious as you would expect from something that is almost half butter.

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Melody opted for their famous (they made The Metro) Cheeseburger Spring Rolls, described as tasting exactly like a cheeseburger but better.

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At my recommendation, Melody’s husband, James chose the Short Rib Croquettes. These intensely meaty and umami packed nuggets are immensely satisfying. I don’t know how they manage to get such a rich, condensed meat flavour in such a small space, it’s witchcraft I tell you!

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Recently I’ve been craving halloumi, so I had to go for the Halloumi Bites. To be honest there’s not much to be said about these, perfectly salty squeaky cheese. Dunk it in the ranch dressing for the best experience, I could live without the overly sweet BBQ sauce!

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Unfortunately the standards start slipping when it comes to the main events. I can’t stress this hard enough, nothing at Solita is bad… it’s just not as inspiring as previous experiences.

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Sara, very much a creature of habit went for her favourite, the Bacon Double Cheeseburger. Previously the candied bacon shard has been tiny but in this one, think of an iceberg. The shard went to the bottom of this burger! Unfortunately there was ketchup dripping from the burger, adding a bit too much sweetness.

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Invoking memories of her first visit to Solita Preston, Melody again chose a burger bigger than her face. The burger that Solita uses across their promotional materials, The Big Manc. This is Solita’s take on the infamous Big Mac… wait? Why am I telling you about McDonalds, we all know about them. Having not eaten a Big Mac in almost a decade (possibly longer) I wouldn’t be able to confirm or deny its likeness to the Big Mac, but Melody assures me that it was similar, if not an astounding burger.

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James had the KFB, a little burger I have previously seriously enjoyed at the original Solita late last year. The crispy bacon is great, but unfortunately the jalapeños on the bottom of the burger provided a balls to the wall blast of heat, overpowering any other flavours.

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I was instantly taken back by my Kim Jong Yum, aka The Seoul-ita. It bore no resemblance to the promotional photos on Solita’s social media channels.

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From the bottom upwards, the curly lettuce I expected to see was limp iceberg, the panko fried chicken brewer was overcooked and bitter tasting, the grilled pineapple was fine, as was the sriacha mayo… and then on top, my sticky pork belly had been turned into a chicken wing, without me being informed of the changes to the advertised description.

Oh, and as for the kimchi. There was no kimchi, there was merely some cabbage and grated carrot on top of the chicken. There was no hint of that savoury fermented funk, none of that fiery lick that kimchi should deliver. Just bland shredded veg.

… and half a bags worth of watercress (perhaps left over from their New York Style burger, I don’t know, did the chefs think they had a better idea than the chef who conceived the burger originally?)

We were going to order desserts, however they had run out of deep fried cookie dough, and the waitress got distracted chatting to her colleague and never came back to see if there was another dessert we wanted instead so we paid and left.

I think whilst Solita made their name on their burgers, the real reason to visit is the starters. At least in Preston anyway, because standards are not nearly as high as the original site now.

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