Disclaimer: As always, this is not a review - it's just a write up of my experience. Even so, It's only fair to say that I ate this food as the guest of Franco who was feeling in a festive mood. In exchange for the feast, Franco got the pleasure of my company, feedback on the dishes and new menu ideas but no promise to say anything nice.
Last year is started my post about Manchester Christmas Markets by saying that each year there are three things that tell me Christmas is on its way: the Coca-Cola ‘Holidays are coming!’ advert; hearing Fairytale Of New York on the radio and the opening of Manchester’s Christmas Markets… one thing that I’m sure is set to be added to that list is the arrival of SoLiTa’s “Christmas Burger”.
This year, (mainly on Twitter) I have seen a shift in negativity towards the Christmas Markets, of which the Mancs were once proud – although bigger than ever, the general consensus does not necessarily rate them as ‘better’ – the food and drink offerings especially have been heavily criticised as being overpriced and poor quality.
Also, restaurants have ‘complained’ of a drop in customers – a sad state of affairs at a time of year when more people than ever visit the city’s streets. The thought being ‘we’ should be supporting local businesses as opposed to lining the pockets of visiting traders.
As if a bright star was shining overhead, one fashionably ‘Inn’ place that still seems to be attracting the wise amongst us is SoLiTa where their very own pantomime dame, Franco (and his elves) continue to roll out an interesting succession of specials to support the main cast.
Whilst much of SoLiTa’s food may be bad for your health (See how I resisted the ‘Elf pun?), I’ve never been one to care about the naughty list – at the top of which is undoubtedly their towering burgers:
SoLiTa’s, as yet unnamed, “Christmas Burger” features their signature 6oz chuck steak & bone marrow patty, topped with buttermilk fried turkey and all the trimmings – namely: cranberry & port sauce, panko fried stuffing, sprouts tops and festive mayo topped with, the crowing glory… a candied pig in blanket!
Although I found the sauce a little too sweet for my taste, this is still one of SoLiTa’s finest creations. Super Christmassy and has kick started my festive festivities! The candied pig in blanket was a stroke of genius… they may be making an appearance in the Hoss household on Christmas day.
As well as the burger I was keen to try some of the new ‘Wing’ section on the menu. I ‘sampled’ the BMW (Bacon, Maple, Wing), Kiev (Garlic butter Parsley), Bourbon (Woodford Reserve sauce) and Sticky Lime (Louisiana Hot Sauce with fresh lime dressing) flavours.
I generally preferred the milder end of the menu with the sweet sticky maple and classic chicken Kiev combinations but the Sticky Lime ribs were also very pleasant. I felt the Bourbon ones could have done with a thicker sauce and more of it (this was fed back to the kitchen).
We also ate the Loaded Baked Potato Soup with cheese and crispy bacon pieces, which was a great winter warmer (once the seasoning had been adjusted at the table).
And the SoLiTa Sampler of Mac n Cheese Balls, Jalapeño Poppers, Buttermilk Popcorn Shrimp, BBQ Wings, Beer Battered Onion Rings – it may all ‘look a little Iceland’ (aka beige) but I do love the mac n cheese balls and the jalapeño poppers. The shrimp were particularly moreish too.
The best thing about this food? You do not have to wait until 25th December to enjoy it!