Banawe is known as the go-to place for car parts and Chinese food. This newly opened Filipino restaurant is setting out to change all that.
If you ever thought that Pinoy food lack imagination and pizzaz, you are in for quite an eye-opener at Soleras.
Situated at the ground floor of hardware and construction store BuildPlus in Banawe, Soleras provides shoppers and walk-in diners another welcome dining option within the premises (the other one is the steak and pizza restaurant Megawatt). Similar to its sister restaurant, it takes its name from the solar panels that serve as its tables and provides a casual vibe among its diners as well as a convenient location within the store.
In line with the New Normal, Soleras operates with safety protocols already in place, such as:
- Requirement for face masks and face shields for all customers
- Mandatory temperature check
- Contact tracing (either via paper forms or via a QR code for an online form for greater convenience and less contact)
- Positioning of diners one seat apart for physical distancing
What really sets Soleras apart from other Filipino restos is its fresh and bold take on classic Pinoy dishes, tweaking ingredients or presentation in ways that produce “awesome-thentic” and “gastronomically exotic-citing” viands that will excite discriminating tastebuds and sate hungry tummies, all while not breaking the bank.
The stars aligned and my luck held because I was able to sample them together with my fellow food bloggers – Anj of AnjColumna.com, Jen of SandUnderMyFeet.com, Nix of IEatAndIWander.com and Chryz of Chryzpontaneous.
Together, this intrepid group of titas feasted on Soleras’ signature dishes such as:
Espesyal na Bulalong Lugaw (Php280). Lugaw (glutinous rice porridge) has long been a Filipino comfort food, especially during chilly or rainy days. Flavored with garlic and ginger and accompanied by bits of meat, hardboiled quail eggs and chopped scallions, this offshoot of the Chinese congee is best served hot, all the better to warm our tummies during cold days. Soleras kicks the awesomeness level of this dish up a notch with the addition of bulalo (beef shanks with bone marrow), making the dish extra special indeed.
Keso Dinakdakan (Php290). Dinakdakan is an Ilocano delicacy similar to the Kapampangan sisig. Our ancestors up north are not wont to waste any food item so they grilled and finely chopped “unwanted” pig parts such as cheeks, ears, liver and tongue, then tossed them in a tangy dressing together with minced ginger, onions and chili peppers. Soleras added tiny cheese cubes to the mix which lends more richness to the dish.
Angus Pares (Php145). I was late in joining the Beef Pares Appreciation Society, having only developed a liking for this dish last year, but I sure am making up for lost time. Beef Pares is so named due to the pairing of slow-braised beef stew with sinangag (garlic fried rice). I go crazy over spoonfuls tender bits of beef and melt-in-your-mouth tendon and garlic rice. The people behind Soleras – bless them! – improved on perfection by using Angus beef in their version of this dish, including a decadent roasted bone marrow, and made the dish available to pares lovers like me for only Php145! Woah!
Pancit Sampler (Php185 for small | Php499 for medium | Php699 for large). The pancit is another example of how we Pinoys took a Chinese influence (noodles in this instance) and made it our own. Soleras updates the usual sauteed noodles with meat bits and veggies by adding the distinct flavors of known Filipino dishes such as Sisig, Bicol Express and Pares.
Pritong Itik (Php225 for small | Php345 for medium | Php450 for large). Instead of the usual fried chicken, Soleras instead serves crispy fried itik (native duck). The bird is first simmered in water with salt, ginger and other aromatics, then properly dried before deep-frying until golden brown.
Ginumis (Php185). For dessert, we had an Ilonggo version of the halo-halo (shaved ice dessert) made with sago pearls, gulaman (cubed gelatin), pinipig (toasted pounded rice), coconut milk and sugar syrup.
Gulaman (Php85). Our drinks were the classic samalamig (sweet chilled coolers) made with sago pearls and gulaman topped with shaved ice and flavored with muscovado sugar and pandan leaves.
Thanks to our Soleras sojourn, my friends and I were able to rediscover our appreciation for Pinoy food. Thanks to Midz of GastronomidaPH.com for extending the invitation!
Why don’t you take a break from your usual ulam, head on to Soleras and get a fresh perspective on Filipino cuisine?
Soleras is located at 686 Banawe Street, Barangay Siena, Quezon City (beside Megawatt Pizza & Steak), open daily from 10am to 10pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 917 1827583 or send a message on Facebook. Soleras also delivers via Grabfood (together with Megawatt).
Disclosure: Together with fellow food bloggers, I was invited to sample Solera’s offerings. All the food items mentioned here were served for us to taste the fare to facilitate our honest reviews and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.
Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:
- Ferino’s Bibingka, Oranbo
- 121 Restaurant, Eastwood City
- Pares Retiro, Cubao
- Tapa King, Libis
- Pares Retiro, P. Tuazon
- Goto Believe, Kapitolyo
- Max’s, Ayala Feliz
- Mang Ding’s, Marikina
- Belly Good Boneless Lechon, Maybunga
- Aling Banang’s, Santa Lucia
- Friends & Family Express, The Podium
- Mang Inasal, Libis
- Max’s, Tomas Morato
- Pares Retiro, Tomas Morato
- 121 Restaurant, BGC Stopover
- 121 Restaurant, Allegro Center
- Manam Comfort Filipino, Trinoma
- Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo
- Liloan’s Pride, California Garden Square
- Bench Cafe, Trinoma
- Bai’s Boneless Lechon Cebu, Pasig
- Liloan’s Pride Liempo, Greenhills
- Angus Tapa Centrale, Tomas Morato
- Gerry’s Grill, Tomas Morato
- Luna J Filipino Gastropub, Tomas Morato
- Gerry’s Grill, SM Marikina
- Bacolod Chicken Parilla, Tomas Morato
- Classic Savory, SM East Ortigas
- Jaytee’s Tagaytay
- Buddy’s, Cubao
- Cabalen, Ayala Malls Feliz
- Limbaga 77, Tomas Morato
- Victorino’s, Tomas Morato
- Locavore, Kapitolyo
- Mozu at Ming’s, Tagaytay
- Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay
- Conti’s, Greenbelt
- Ilustrado Restaurant, Intramuros
- Rico’s Lechon, Tiendesitas
- Lobo Filipino Tavern, Poblacion
- Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato
- Padi’s Point, Sumulong
- Padi’s Point, Upper Antipolo
- Padi’s Point, Tomas Morato
- Padi’s Point, Metro East
- Sisig Society, Fisher Mall
- Tapsi ni Vivian, Pasig
- Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato
- Pamana, Tomas Morato