There have been sky-high levels of anticipation surrounding the opening of Solita Prestwich, a fair proportion of which has been emanating from the direction of our house, it has to be said…
In January, the news broke that the folks behind the popular eatery (which is famed for its especially calorific, burger-dominated menu and the fact that it’s almost impossible to get a table at the Northern Quarter branch on a weekend night) would be opening their third outlet right here by amalgamating the old Aumbry and Bombay Cuisine sites into one mega restaurant.
The fitting-out hasn’t been an easy job – see the Solita Twitter account – and, with the building in a much worse state than first thought, the launch date has been pushed back and back. Over the past few weeks, I’ve regularly been trundling the pram along Bury New Road to have a nosy at the progress they’ve been making, and when I found out the grand opening was finally imminent, I kept a keen eye on my inbox waiting for the email that’d allow me to book a table for the soft launch.
Lucky for us, I was quick off the mark and managed to snag us a spot for a 50% off lunch a week and a bit after the opening. At the appointed hour we’re one of the first in, but the rest of the tables soon fill up with others keen to indulge in a bit of Saturday lunchtime carb-loading (when everything’s half the normal price, you’re pretty much justified in ordering twice as much as you usually would, right?).
My husband points out that our table towards the back of the restaurant is mere feet from where we would have sat when we last went to Aumbry, but the space has been so totally transformed, I can’t picture what was here before.
No doubt you’ll have seen plenty of pics of the most notable interior feature – the ceiling of neon towards the front part of the building – already; it’s bloody awesome. The back part of the restaurant, which offers booths and long tables suitable for bigger parties, is a bit more stripped back design-wise but it’s clear that a whole lot of love – and money – has been poured into making this place all-round impressive.
We go ‘full burger’ ourselves by ordering Solita’s most lauded starter, the cheese burger spring rolls (they taste just like, well, cheeseburgers squished into a spring roll), followed by Bacon Double Cheese (husband) and Walk of Shame (me) burgers. Mine’s just what you want from a burger: huge (I have to dissect the tower of sauce, beef, bun and molten cheese in order to actually be able to fit any of it into my mouth), meaty and just the right amount of greasy. I have sweet potato fries on the side; Solita’s version are crinkle cut which seems to help them retain their crispiness better. It’s all immensely satisfying and, of course, just a bit guilt-inducing – but then you don’t come to a place like this if you’re weight watching.
If you didn’t manage to get a table for the soft launch yourself you can still get through the door before the official 7th September opening as the basement bar is open to everyone. Plus Solita have also been offering up last-minute tables over on Twitter if you want to try your luck there.