20 Jul

As it currently stands, Manchester is in the grip of a meat obsession. It’s most creative and prolific incarnation, the burger, is being peddled all over town, with various establishments touting theirs to be the tastiest piece of beef between two buns. Gorilla’s offering comes with a tumbler of gin, Brew Dog’s a bottle of beer and Almost Famous Burgers (opening for another stint this weekend) with a side of crazy.

More invested meateasy’s like Southern Eleven are cracking out the pulled pork, beef brisket and BBQ ribs, so surely it’s only a matter of time before someone gets a good honest grip on fried chicken, which to be quite honest would be welcome in the midst of the red meat feeding frenzy we have on our hands. All in good time though, I say.

Today, however, we have another contender in the form of Solita NQ, tucked neatly away on Turner Street for you all to go find. For the past few weeks, the great and greedy of Manchester’s food scene have been invited along to try and tweet their tucker, titillating the rest of us with images of Jacob’s Ladder short ribs and Ancoats-based Cabrelli ice cream, which apparently comes garnished with bacon candy.*

Aperol Spritzer uopn arrival

With such tantalising images, you can well imagine the blessed joy I felt at being invited along to a pre-opening do, and good lord, was it worth the visit. Rooster scratchings (aka. crispy chicken skin), bacon jam on sourdough toast (epic in its moreish nature) and an inspired pulled pork sundae (with sweet anise marinated meat and mash composed of 60% potato and 40% butter) were all highlights from the small plates menu. Heavy but heavenly going.

Salty delicious Rooster Scratchings

Smoky, sweet, insanely moreish Bacon Jam on Sourdough Toast

The star dish of Pulled Pork Sundae

Pink and intensely spiced hangar steak plus the ubiquitous burger, soft and tender with bone marrow, and pimped up with a mature cheddar cheese from Lancashire based Leagram’s Organic Dairy were our treats from the Inka grill menu, with the only minor disappointment being the deep fried mac and cheese topped with pulled pork. The rich brioche bun, overly pungent cheese and sweet pulled pork were all a taste sensation too far and way too heavy on the carbs. Shame.

Super tender Classic Burger with Bone Marrow

The surprise hit that was Inka Roasted Vegetables with Smoked Butter

The highly anticipated Deep Fried Mac and Cheese with Pulled Pork

Now, not one I am usually wont to quote, but as A.A.Gill so succinctly described Shrimpy’s in this past weekends Style magazine, Solita NQ offers dude food of the highest order. Truly imaginative and truly indulgent, it’s the kind of place you go with friends who scoff at the word diet and relish the idea of deep fried coke, which also makes its way onto the menu.

Coke based churros coated in cinnamon sugar, served with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with coke syrup.

I would advise you run for your lives, but I can’t. This is an establishment which cries out for a long drawn out love affair, reluctantly embarked upon for being a risk to your health but wholly deserved for daring to be truly dirty. Bacon and ice cream, I ask you! Yet despite serving up some serious filth, this place has heart. The food is calorific yet comforting, and the hospitality is excellent. These guys want you to get together, relax and have a good time, and they achieve it in abundance. So go. Get fat. Enjoy.

Prices: Small plates up to £5.50 / Inka Grill up to £16.90

*Speaking of bacon, is this the one meat you can never truly tire of? Bacon butties, bacon cocktails, bacon everything, the Guardian have lovingly named this overwhelming piggy cult baconalia. With Solita NQ serving up bacon jam, I doubt I will be anytime soon.


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