SoLIta Manchester The Dirty Secret

Review of SoLIta The Dirty Secret


What they say:

Our classic Solita burger with a few added ingredients, dipped in breadcrumbs then DEEP FRIED, one of our best yet!

Price: £12.90.

Calories: Unknown.

Deep fried burgers aren’t new. Britain’s sunniest city is relatively famous for that sort of thing. It’s Dundee by the way, and I’ve reviewed it here.

However, that involved a deep fried patty in a bun as part of an uninspiring construction.

What Solita has done for their latest special is take their standard cheeseburger (with some extra toppings apparently), and deep fried the whole kaboodle, bun included.

Solita The Dirty Secret
The secret is out…

Now, clearly it’s a gimmick. Yes, innovative and certainly different, but very much a gimmick, and I was actually going to skip it and have the Walk of Shame during this visit to Solita.

However, after the 83rd text message from Burger Lad® asking if I’ve reviewed the deep fried thing yet, I capitulated and ordered it.

Solita’s popularity has arguably outgrown its now rather cramped Northern Quarter original branch.

Both Didsbury and the forthcoming Prestwich branch are far larger and more spacious, and at this rate the newly-signed Manchester City Centre branch will be the whole of Great Northern. The once-unique independent is slowly becoming a mega-chain.

It hasn’t affected the innovation though. If the eclectic main menu choices aren’t enough for you, there’s always the special, a rotating example of Solita’s innovation, and unlike many places, thanks mainly to Franco’s prolific tweeting, Solita isn’t afraid to highlight where any inspiration comes from.

What’s also striking is the speed of development. In this case, Franco retweets something from the internet where somebody has deep-fried a Big Mac, and two or three days later, it’s the new Solita special.

So anyway, I found myself once more at Solita, ready to give this thing a go. A deep fried burger from a place not run by the SNP.

I ordered the house pilsener “Solitabrau” which was very sweet and I settled into Solita. It wasn’t chronically busy yet but I’m quite sure it will be later.

When I ordered my “special”, I got a very knowing smile from the waitress as if to say “aye, you and everyone else yesterday”. Mr Bialoskorski must be fed up of the sight of the fryer!

I must admit I was rather nervous waiting for this one. You take the normal amount of calories in a burger and add a zero on the end. And it’s not bloody zero! But who the hell wants to live forever. Not me.

When it arrived I was a little underwhelmed. It’s a symptom of breadcrumbing and deep frying stuff – everything looks the same. I don’t even know if it was the same Franco Panko breadcrumbs they use elsewhere on the menu.

Solita The Dirty Secret
Hmmm it’s deep fried…

But what made me chuckle was the fact it was served on a lettuce leaf. Look at me, I’m healthy!! Ha ha.

Of course, bloody hot to pick up like a normal burger. I did try, but this was a job for the cutlery I’m afraid. Far too hot. Well, who wants a cold burger.

When I tucked in, the first noticeable thing, rather obviously, was the crunch of the fried breadcrumbs. But also, the very noticeable yellow tinge of what was once a burger bun. I suppose, because it’s brioche, the egg being fried lent an even yokier tinge to the whole thing.

Solita The Dirty Secret
Inside The Dirty Secret…

As I cut down into this burger, the cheese bubbled up like little pools of tasty lava.

It was a deep fried cheeseburger and it tasted like a deep fried cheeseburger. One of the best things about Solita’s burgers is the Inka grilled patty- second to none, really. But on this one that lovely grilled taste had been overridden by the oil.

In this case, done well so it didn’t make it bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it did make it very, very different to the usual Solita experience.

Branch manager Mark introduced me to Marcin, the head chef who told me a little about making the burger – hardly “fast” food. A very talented and friendly chap but naturally very busy.

Solita The Dirty Secret
Eggy fried stuff…

I enjoyed this burger but I’m going to qualify that summary.

Compared to anything else deep fried I’ve ever had, this was the best. It was also head and shoulders above many burgers.

But compared to the very high yardstick of Solita’s burgers generally, it didn’t match up.

I’d far rather have a Big Manc or a Walk of Shame.

I’d thoroughly recommend it though – you’re unlikely to taste anything as good as this from the deep fryer, but you need to have it and then try something else from Solita’s excellent menu.

Solita The Dirty Secret
What’s your dirty secret…!?

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