(Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul)
‘Solita’ – taking its name from the area of Manhattan ‘South of Little Italy’ – is located in a less fashionable part of the Northern Quarter. It’s on Turner Street, some two streets removed from Thomas Street, which seems to be the de-facto backbone of the Northern Quarter. It also faces the back of an unattractive multi-story car park, so the views from the few seats outside (for smokers) are less than glamorous.
Unconcerned by the lack of glamour, I ventured in on a chilly Tuesday evening. It was busy, but there was room for a lone diner. It’s not large, it does fill up quickly, and on previous occasions I’ve found the management unconcerned at turning potential diners away. There is a bar downstairs, but I fear being left ‘out of sight, out of mind’ while waiting for a meal, so have never ventured down there.
One wall is decorated by a large reproduction of a ‘Modesty Blaise’ cartoon panel, the only other wall is home to the ‘specials’ blackboard which offers a tempting selection beyond the already comprehensive menu.
Solita are one of the few restaurants in the North (indeed the UK) to use an ‘Inka’ oven/grill. This beastie is charcoal fuelled and gets up to temperatures of around 500 degrees, Celsius. This tends to quickly seal the meat for extra juiciness, and while the menu features beef and veal steaks, they also profess to add bone marrow to their burgers for even meatier, juicy deliciousness.
I was tempted by the Solita signature ‘Pulled Pork Sundae’ starter – pulled pork and balls of mashed potato, served in a sundae dish and made to look like an ice-cream sundae – I’ve had it before and enjoyed it, but when I saw ‘Tabasco & Tequila Chicken Wings’ on the specials board, I figured it had to be worth trying.
I didn’t regret my choice, the Chicken wings were sticky and palate-numbingly delicious. My taste-buds were just recovering when my main course arrived, a KFB – Kentucky Fried Burger.
This was one of their specialities, was a thick juicy burger (cooked medium) and topped with melted Monterey Jack cheese, Jalapenos, a home-made Bourbon BBQ sauce and, I kid you not, Kentucky Fried Bacon. As the name suggests, this is rasher of bacon, coated in herbs and spices and then deep fried. I enjoyed mine with a side order of sweet potato fries – which I found myself too full to finish.
I know. I could almost hear my arteries constricting as I ate it, but it was meaty, juicy and delicious.
I don’t do desserts, even the ‘Deep Fried Coke’ (Churros filled with post-mix Cola syrup) couldn’t tempt me.
All in all it was on the pricier side of meals in the Northern Quarter, coming in at around twenty five quid including one beer, good though.