Review of Solita Manc Rib
What they say:
7 ounce pork shoulder and pork rib meat ‘boneless rib’ patty, homemade sweet bbq sauce, gherkins,white onions served on an artisan sub roll.
Once more unto the breach. Solita again, one of my favourites. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Solita is a home of innovation, even if, in this case, it means (hopefully) improving on someone else’s idea.
This time, I’ve chosen to go to their second location – Didsbury in South Manchester.
|Inside SoLIta Didsbury…|
On arrival, it looks altogether bigger than the original place. One gripe at the outset is the parking. Yes, there’s free parking out the front, as they say, but it isn’t just for Solita, and although I arrived before the place was even open, the small car park was full, save for one solitary space – lucky me. It’s also very tight, so don’t bring your Cheshire tractor.
Anyway, stepping in, it’s altogether different from the NQ. Big, airy and light and lots of space. The design and decor is different but of equally high quality, and includes the terrific Stan Chow artwork. The music is too loud for lunchtime.
I’m here for the Manc Rib, Solita’s “tribute” to the recently re-released McRib. From a quick look on Twitter, it appears a brief conversation between Solita’s Franco and Burger Lad® resulted in an undertaking to put a Solita spin on the McRib. Bread was duly sourced, rib meat brought in and reformed, and a barbecue sauce developed.
|Wings and Balls…|
Within a short few days, lo and behold the Manc Rib was born and BurgerLad.com was there on Day One, Hour One to sample it.
First things first though, the Admiral is having Solita’s famous Mac and cheese balls as a starter, and also the sticky lime wings which Franco says are the best he’s ever tasted. Let’s see…
|The Manc Rib…|
As I wait for my food, the friendly waiter told me he hasn’t tried it yet but it’s been trialled with some regular customers (hey, what’s the Admiral, with now 5 reviews, if not regular?).
I’ve deliberately not had the McDonald’s McRib yet because I didn’t want this to turn into a comparison. I wanted to review it on its own merit. I’ll have the McRib later and you can see Burger Lad®’s review here.
A quick word on the starters then we’ll get stuck in.
The sticky lime wings aren’t the best wings I’ve ever tried. They are very good and quite hot though. The flavour seems to sit flat across the palate without depth. Maybe they were just too hot for me. And extremely sticky.
The Mac and cheese balls (Manc n cheese, surely?) were great. I’ve had similar from Domino’s but Solita’s were in a different class. Lovely and crispy on the outside and gloriously gooey on the inside. Fantastic.
After a quick visit to the loo to clean up after the wings (a strange upstairs/downstairs journey), I spotted the Boss with a photographer doing what looked like promo pics for the Manc Rib. After that I sat down and waited for my own.
|SoLIta Manchester Manc Rib…|
When it arrived, it was familiar. There’s been so many pics of it and its fast food cousin pinging around Twitter, that I feel I know it already.
A soft sub roll with rib meat and pickles poking out all around. And vast amounts of sauce.
So here goes! Biting in. Wow, that’s sweet! Really sweet. That sauce is very sweet. That’s what I got first, more than anything else.
|Lifting the lid…|
As my taste buds acclimatised, the rest of the flavours kicked in. The bun was soft and floppy, but really did a great job. Even when I held it lengthways, it didn’t crumble, it held the line perfectly. The bun was also created especially for Solita by Sanderson Bakery. Franco has hinted at a desire to replace brioche and it may be that the soft bun will take over on the other burgers. If this one’s anything to go by, it’d be a fine choice.
This isn’t a complicated burger. Toppings are pickle and onions. Four large slices of pickle and small pieces of onion scattered around. I didn’t really get the onion taste much, but the pickles did well breaking up the sweetness of the sauce and picking out an alternate flavour with almost every bite.
Back to the sauce, it’s been well developed. Sweet at the outset then settling down as the meal goes on.
And that leaves the meat. As always at Solita, meat is done right. It didn’t have a taste in the first couple of bites because of the sweetness of the sauce, but once that sat on the back seat and the pickles came into play, the meat gave out that warm glowy taste that ribs do. This is proper ribs, de-boned and reformed into a patty and as such it tastes very much like ribs on the bone that you’d get in a good BBQ place.
|Another great creation…|
This burger is around for a couple of weeks (longer I suppose if it sells well) so get along to one of Solita’s restaurants and get stuck in. Another great creation from the Solita team!