Review of SoLIta Christmas Special Burger
What they say:
6 ounce Angus beef and venison patty, 5 bird roast slice (turkey, goose, chicken, pheasant, duck), panko fried stuffing, deep fried sprouts, port and cranberry sauce, KFC style turkey gravy, topped with a candied Pig in Blanket.
Ah, Solita. It’s a top place. Just have a look at the new expanded burger menu on the website.
I’m here for the much-touted Christmas special. Just look at the numerous tweets about it. It’s magnificent… a cheeseburger five bird roast with a pig in a blanket.
It’s £14.50 and my starter is £5.50 so it’s not a cheap meal. But what it is, is a sort of double review in one. Let me explain.
Solita does cheeseburger spring rolls. Yes, you read that correctly. Imagine that! A small cheeseburger encased in the crispy coating that you get at Chinese restaurants. Talk about innovation! It’s not quite a burger so it doesn’t get a review of its own, but its bloody close so I’m including it here.
|Cheeseburger Spring Rolls indeed…|
Just as every time, I’ve been served by a waitress who bears more than a passing resemblance to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s welcoming, friendly and helpful – a real ambassador to the growing business.
And growing it is. Two Manchester locations already, with Liverpool and a fourth as yet unconfirmed location both opening next year.
Wherever they open they will be popular. The owner spends a vast amount of time on Twitter. I’ll come back to that in a bit because it impacts upon the Christmas special, but first the cheeseburger spring rolls.
This was a taste explosion. It wasn’t just a bit of mince in a crispy coating. It was a proper seasoned cheeseburger. There was a bit of pickle and pepper going on in there. Combined with the cheese and the meat this tasted fantastic.
Sticking it inside a Chinese restaurant staple – the crispy spring roll – is genius. Genius… I’ll say it again. G-E-N-I-U-S!!! I have never tasted anything like it before and it very nearly made me forget to order my main course – the Christmas special.
The ingredients list of the special is so long it just about fills the entire blackboard behind the bar. It’s built around the Aldi five bird roast and therein lies a significant topic of discussion I must raise.
|SoLIta’s Christmas Special…|
Fran, Solita’s owner is Twitter-prolific. Through this medium we learn a lot of things about the business. It’s very 21st century and the marketing people will probably say every business need to be on social media these days.
But sometimes there’s information overload. About Solita’s Christmas special we know so much, including the fact they tested several supermarket multi-bird roasts before settling on the Aldi one.
And that’s the nub of the issue. I’m ordering a burger whose core ingredient is something of which I have two in my own freezer.
I have no doubt that lots of restaurants use supermarket ingredients in many of their dishes. Nothing wrong with that. But most of the time we don’t know. Sometimes ignorance is still bliss.
|“Are you just pleased to eat me…!?”|
What I do know is that when I prepare my Aldi bird roast for the pre-Christmas family meal, it will not taste like Solita’s Christmas special. There’s one thing having the ingredients, and quite another having the skill to use them in such innovative ways. I don’t and I wager most of you don’t. Solita does.
Solita embodies innovation and taste.
The patty on this special is a beef and venison mix and one of the several toppings is sprouts. But in true Solita style, it’s not just sprouts of the kind you might get at your Grandma’s, it’s deep fried sprouts and again according to Twitter, is yet another taste sensation.
Anyway, there are 9 different meat products in this burger according to Fran on Twitter so meatiness and taste are unlikely to be in short supply.
My burger arrived. My first impression was the thing sticking out the top. Rude, in some way. It was a pig in a blanket, candied in some form. It tasted exactly like sausage and bacon encased in sugar would – like it had come straight from God’s kitchen without passing Go.
|Meat, stuffing, birds – a lot going on…|
The burger itself… Massive!! Three distinct layers – the stuffing – the patty – and the 5 bird roast. There’s no way I could taste every single bird individually, though, and I’m not sure the venison was getting through either.
It was a tough job eating this due to the height. I could taste the stuffing loud and clear. In fact it was this possibly more than any other ingredient that made it taste of Christmas.
The patty was outstanding as ever and slightly pink on the inside. I didn’t get a specific venison taste but I put that down to the sheer number of different tastes going on.
|Sprouts are welcomed to the 21st century…|
It wasn’t perfect. Life doesn’t work that way. It was, dare I say, a little dry. Could’ve done with a bit more lubrication – perhaps some melted Brie throughout the layers. But that’s probably just personal taste and others will enjoy it just the way it is.
So, the verdict…. It’s an outstanding burger with an onslaught of tastes that bombard and overwhelm the senses. Smells great, looks great, and tastes great. The sheer mass is daunting but it is guaranteed to leave you with a sense of awe about what goes on in the Solita development kitchen.
“It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas, tra la-la la-laaaa”
|A last look at the Xmas Special…|