I’m in a taxi and the driver is careening onto Connaught Road like a mad man. My IPhone clock strikes 8pm – and my heart sinks. I’ve missed it, I know I’ve missed it. Still, the driver continues, clear in his purpose and adamant to fulfill it. We hit a light, we hit another light – my eyes dart between the clock and the road. “Time to do those sprints!!!”, my friend SN texts me, “I’ll hold it as long as I can!”.
We screech to a halt in front of Pier 3, I throw a $50 note at this amazing man who has managed to get me here on time, and tell him to keep the change. My brown 4-inch heeled boots strike the pavement HARD – people must have heard me coming from a mile away. CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP, I doot my Octopus Card, fly past the barrier, SN is at the ready throw the ferry steward in the water in case I don’t make it. But I’ve made it! I stop with a panting finish onboard the ferry – we are on out way to Discovery Bay!
Our destination: a girls dinner at Solera, a new Spanish Tapas restaurant located in DB Plaza. At first sight, it is obvious that they have tried everything to make this place as Spanish as possible, to the point where they go overboard just a tad. However, the result is that after a while, you could actually start feeling like you’ve been transported to a restaurant in Spain, and the feeling grew on us.
Once we started eating the food, the illusion became complete.
We started off with an Iberico cold cut selection, served with a very flavorful tomato bread. Whilst it was a lovely platter, it doesn’t really serve to show the “edge” that this restaurant has with the rest of its food.
Solera tries to offer a slightly different interpretation of traditional tapas dishes, and they hit the spot with this one – their version of Heuvos Estrellados, a simple dish of fried potatoes, fried egg and Iberico Ham. The saltiness of the cube-cut-then-fried Iberico ham is juxtaposed by the sweet onion confit, and using fried potato crisps instead of larger pieces adds a wonderful crunch. The egg coats the whole dish with rich creaminess, and it is so deliciously moreish.
The preparation of the cuttlefish made it resemble pasta, and the porcini and chili really added a depth of flavour. It’s unfortunate that it is so high in cholesterol, otherwise I could eat a whole plate of this. At first taste, the garlic in this dish is a little overpowering, but it somehow fades as it cools.
I always like a good albondiga! Whilst I love porcinis (and that’s a good thing, since they seem to use them quite a bit in the menu), the sauce literally covers the flavours of the beef. Don’t get me wrong, it was still yummy, just not the best dish of the evening!
The patatas bravas was my least favourite of the evening. There are some traditional dishes that you can’t stray too far off the beaten path with, and their interpretation of this potato dish was all wrong. First of all, don’t eat it unless your partner is eating it with you – you will go home smelling like Eau de Garlic. It was just WAY too much. Secondly, the spiced tomato sauce was overlooked in this dish. It should be the star, but it was sunk all the way in the bottom of the dish, and not spicy at all.
The croquetas were pretty good, creamy on the inside with a thin and super crispy crust on the outside. If I were to pull up memories of all the croquetas I’ve had in Hong Kong (FoFo by El Willi makes the best in my opinion), they are not bad at all. Certainly, the chefs from Plaza Mayor should come here and see how it’s done.
The gambas were beautiful. Succulent, fat, well seasoned, and that crispy garlic really added to the dish.
Slow cooked Angus Beef Cheeks, oh how do I love thee? Let me count the ways … the beef fell apart at the touch of a fork, the sauce was beautiful, and the sweetness of the gooseberry chutney really balanced it all out. This was definitely the best dish of the evening (with the slow-cooked egg a very close second).
The four of us ladies had all of this, with three pitchers of Sangria (which was wonderful by the way, and a steal at HK$190 each), for HK$1500. To me, that is a really well-priced meal, especially for the quality of food that was served. You could find that Beef Cheek in any fancy restaurant for triple the price. Let’s not forget to mention the beautiful terrace outside, which would be lovely under the afternoon sun. I’ve read quite a bit about the service being patchy, but they must have ironed out the kinks because service was really professional and efficient.The Spanish chefs have done a really good job with this kitchen, and I really hope that the residents of DB support this restaurant so that it stays open for a while to come.
Solera is definitely the best restaurant that DB has to offer. I, for one, would brave all that stress of getting to the ferry on time all over again to re-visit. And to give you even more of an incentive, Solera participates in the Dine ‘n Ride offer, so you can get your return ferry ride to Central FREE! There are conditions, so for more information about which restaurants participate in the Dine ‘n Ride Offer, click here!
Solera Spanish Restaurant
Shop 101 (directly above the Pacific Coffee Company, right after you get off the ferry)
Block A, D Deck, Discovery Bay
Tel: +852 2555 0772