Solita Brunch

9 Feb

Brunch [bruhnch]
noun

1. A meal that serves as both breakfast and lunch.

verb (used without object)

2. to eat brunch: They brunch at 12:00 on Saturday.

Ah, brunch. By definition, an elegant marriage of the two most underutilised and oft rushed meals of the day. A craftily cultivated urbane construct, it’s a whole new eating occasion, tailor-made for those (cough) busy, city-dwelling fools to slow down, smell the coffee and eat their butter slathered sourdough at a leisurely, lolling pace. No more hastily inhaled granola bars, kids. Oh, no! Sit down, worldly one. One poached egg or two? Yeah sure, we’ve got the Guardian.

Truffled Eggs on Toast

Truffled Eggs on Toast

Hello to beguilingly titled egg dishes doused in a butter rich sauces and a fragrant pot of Earl Grey to one side, vintage tea strainer to hand (of course), should you take a moment from taking the news the way it was meant to be read. It’s quite the young, middle class dream, no?

No. Come now. Face down in the French toast, wolfishly mopping up every last morsel of maple syrup – a mere socially shaming second away from licking the plate – brunch is often far removed from the refined experience we fantasise it to be. The reality? A calorie-packed, carb stacked excuse for gluttons to eat two ‘light’ meals approximating as one bender of a binge, and for those fashionably facing down the mother of all hangovers, an especially wanky way to eschew the far more workaday full English down your local greasy spoon.

Steak Eggs Benedict

Steak Eggs Benedict

Yet, who am I to point (grease-laden) fingers? Living in the heart of Manchester’s hipster territory, I’d take hollandaise over HP every day of the week, and any meal that offers NHS offending levels of sugar-soused protein on a fluffy bed of carbs needs muster no marketing effort on my part. An excuse to overindulge before the day has got going? Pretentious greedy bint as charged. *

Bearing that in mind, imagine my excitement at the news that Solita, the Northern Quarter’s premier dude food outlet (and home to the insurmountable doburg) announced their new brunch menu late January. In your face, fad dieters! Not one to shy away from saturated fat, or the kind of plate piling that would make any self-respecting Northern matriarch proud, Franco (owner) and his merry band of feeders have pulled together the kind of cholesterol-raising brunch menu my heart has been yearning for. The accompanying early morning “acceptable” cocktail menu simply sealed the deal.

Fried Chicken and Waffles

Fried Chicken and Waffles

My eye was on the fried chicken prize, my friends. Anyone who has witnessed me after an all-day drinking session will know my heart’s affinity for fricken, so to serve it up mid-morning, atop a bed of sweet doughy waffles and smothered in sausage gravy (yes, it’s a thing) was always going to win out. The sticky, sugary waffles jarred slightly with the savoury – in the way that bacon and maple syrup never has, bizarrely – but the chicken was tender, the coating crispy and lightly spiced, and that gravy?! Who can argue with a thick, cream-based meat sauce?

The truffled egg on toast was disgustingly decadent. Sexily pungent – as truffles are wont to do – crust deep in fontina and swimming in runny egg, it’s a rich, inviting dish. A dirty hybrid of cheese on toast and a sloppier version of eggy bread, the buttery, earthy flavours from all quarters worked wonders in bringing the dish together, though I urge you approach with caution. Its simple appearance in no way correlates with the punch this dish packs.

Blood Orange Mimosa

Blood Orange Mimosa

The steak eggs benedict is a beefed up (forgive me) take on an old classic, which being my all-time favourite brunch item, was too tempting not to sample. The medium rare steak – impeccably cooked on Solita’s Inka charcoal oven – worked beautifully with the fluffy muffin base, gloriously hued hollandaise and flecked capers which accompanied the dish, though I did miss the chewy, salty tang that the bacon traditionally brings. Luckily, the original version also makes a star appearance on the menu, so one to get down and dirty with on my return.

All washed down with a couple of breakfast cocktails – the sparkly, sharp bite of the blood orange mimosa providing the perfect foil for rich, creamy food – I rolled out of the place, a mere two hours later, just the right side of uncomfortably full and quite frankly the most inebriated I’ve ever been before midday. All in all, it was the most honest brunch I’ve had the pleasure of eating.

Greedy, boozy, heavenly brunch, and not a newspaper in sight. Applause for the lack of bullshit, Solita.

* Let it be known, I’ve never stuck my nose up at a brown sauce bedecked bacon butty. Ever.

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One Response to “Solita Brunch”

  1. Aunty deb February 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

    I love your writing darling ( no bias at all) can’t wait to come up n have any sort of meal in Manchester with you. Might even bring the Nana-now she is THE food critic of all time! Xx

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