Going loco for Solana tamales, tacos or margaritas
The opening of Solana seems to have added a nomadic, tribal attitude to a bustling Wuding Road these days.
Solana is a tribal Latin American concept featuring handcrafted tacos, tamal and raw plates with customized Margaritas and tepache — a traditional Mexican street drink.
The bohemian, tribal-style space accommodates around 40 people in its comfortable seating area. A high table for a group faces the street, giving a relaxed ambience from inside to outside. There are also several seats along the bar area, for before or after dinner drinks.
The vibe is rather bohemian and customers who come to eat here are not traditional business-types in suits. The Solana team knows how to target the right customers.
Unlike most of the Mexican places in town, offering just a few tropical fruit taste options, Solana provides customization by choosing either alcohol (tequila or mescal) or a non-alcohol base. The taste (sweet, balanced or sour) and the style goes from classic to different fruit tastes to even herbal, including eucalyptus, basil and lemongrass.
The bartender will slice and crush all the fruit, herbs and spices in front of your eyes. That’s unusual and I liked my tequila based, balanced eucalyptus margarita.
The kitchen makes different creations based on the classic ceviche and I chose octopus and shrimp version. I found the octopus overly cooked and the overall taste lacking balance.
Beetroot cured salmon was a more interesting pick. The horseradish cream and pickled beet gave the cured salmon a sophisticated touch.
Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish made with a corn dough mixture that is filled with various meats. They are wrapped and cooked in banana leaves.
The Solana version taste of tamal is sticky rice with either pork belly, short rib or beer buttered sea bass, wrapped inside banana leaves. I chose the Argentina short rib, and the meat was of good quality — tender and juicy.
Chicken fajita, as my main of the day, met expectation. Slices of grilled chicken meat were spiced with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms on a sizzling hot plate with a side of guacamole, sour cream, jalapeno and pepper jack cheese. A mixture of everything wrapped in a soft flour tortilla is a true Mexican staple. Don’t forget to try tepache, a fermented drink made from pineapple and sweetened with honey or dark sugar. You can choose different flavors here from pineapple mint to kiwi eucalyptus.
Opening hours: 11am-2am
Address: 1085 Wuding Rd
Average price: 130 yuan