Solita, located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, stands for ‘South of Little Italy'; however, fear not burger maniacs – the only pasta dishes you’ll find here are huge hearty plates of deep-fried mac ‘n’ cheese with pulled pork. The name of the restaurant actually refers to it’s location as opposed to it’s menu. The Ancoats area was once commonly referred to as Little Italy due to the number of Italian people who relocated to the area in the 19th century. Solita prides itself on the use of it’s Inka grill, which is used to cook most of the dishes on the menu, which consists of a large range of burgers, steaks and a few other magical-sounding delights such as sourdough toast with bacon jam, 60-40 butter mash and a pulled pork sundae. Yes, you read that correctly – Pulled. Pork. Sundae.
The restaurant, which was absolutely packed, sports a massive chalkboard on the back wall which your eyes are immediately drawn too. The board is packed full of mouth-watering daily specials and right there in the middle was the Big Manc – Solita’s own take on a certain high street fast food burger that most of, if not all of you will have eaten at some point. The burger, which started as an occasional special, has become so popular that it’s now a chalkboard feature almost daily.
It consists of two large charred patties, shredded lettuce, Solita’s secret Big Manc sauce, melted cheese and pickles all served on a triple brioche bun which is glazed with smoked butter and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The presentation is fantastic and it tastes every bit as fantastic as it looks.
The two thick beef patties were beautifully charred on the outside and perfectly pink in the middle. The meat was juicy and fell apart with each bite. It was one of those burgers that you just didn’t want to end and probably the most well cooked patty we’ve ever eaten. Absolute perfection. The secret sauce tasted even better than the sauce found on the high street burger that it is named after and melted cheese and shredded lettuce meld together to create a fantastic, messy combination that you’ll need to get your hands dirty with in order to finish.
The bun was another high point of the Big Manc. Lightly toasted and glazed in smoked butter, this is certainly indulgence as it’s best. My fingers were covered in smoked butter and sesame seeds, but I didn’t care – the burger was too good. Despite being bigger than your average burger and being housed in a butter soaked bun, the Big Manc held together well. I was sure that we wouldn’t have been able to cut it in half for our obligatory ‘insides’ shot; however, fortunately I was wrong and even cut in half, the burger stood tall. The bun held everything together well and it was as close to a perfect burger experience as we’ve had to date.
I did find myself feeling absolutely stuffed by the time I’d finished the burger. To be honest, I was happily full when I reached the halfway point, but when a burger is this well cooked you can’t just eat half and leave the rest! The size of the burger and the fact that it is so filling may be too much for some, but personally we loved it.
Was there anything about our visit that wasn’t great? Not much at all. if anything, I’d possibly highlight the fries, which I thought tasted a little plain. I’m not a fan of pre-salted fries that a lot of restaurants serve, which thankfully wasn’t the case at Solita; however, I’d have preferred a little seasoning of some kind just to bring out some flavour a little. What you are really paying for here though is the burger and it is a burger that we could pick no faults with.
At £14.99, it’s slightly pricier than your standard burger, but for two large patties which are cooked perfectly, we’d say that it’s certainly worth every penny.
We also ordered the Catalan burger, which was topped with chorizo, manchego and red pepper aioli on a toasted brioche. Much like the Big Manc, it was cooked to perfection and had a very Mediterranean feel to it, from the bright colours to the tangy aioli. This would be a perfect Summertime burger. I didn’t have much time to fully appreciate the Catalan; however, as my attention was firmly locked on the Big Manc.
Despite being so full that I wanted to sleep, we decided to order dessert as it’s not every day that we’re in Manchester. We sampled Solita’s famous deep fried coke, which consists of churros fried with coke syrup and cinnamon and served with more coke syrup and vanilla ice cream. We actually had coconut ice cream as there was no vanilla left, but it was still just as good. It’s very sweet but quite heavy so we’d recommend sharing one, if you can manage it after a Big Manc!
We can only hope that the Big Manc remains a permanent feature on Solita’s menu as we’re already looking forward to another when we go back to Manchester for a return visit. If you live in Manchester, go and get one now while you still can. We hear that Solita even offer a TRIPLE big manc if you ask nicely, but we’ll save that for next time!
One of the most well-cooked burgers we’ve ever eaten.
Price: £14.99 / Catalan: £10.90
+ The most well-cooked burger patty we’ve ever eaten.
+ The secret Big Manc sauce is delicious.
+ Excellent bun.
+ Great presentation.
– Will definitely be a bit too much for some due to it’s size.
– Fries could have been better.
Have you tried this burger? Did you love it? If so, let us know!
Talk to James on Twitter and tell us what you thought of this burger! You can also leave your own review and comments below. We want to hear from you! You can also leave a message or join in on the burger chat on our Facebook page.
37 Turner Street
Phone: 0161 839 2200