I turned 29 last week. And like every birthday, I woke up full of questions. What am I doing with my life? What motivates me? Why is my family ashamed of me? Why can't I find multi-packs of cheap socks in Moscow? Am I getting enough vitamins? What time is it? Where can I get delicious bowl of coconut and prawns soup and a huge-ass Long Island Ice Tea for under 1,000 Rubles?
The only question I could answer was the last one. And the answer was, is, and likely always will be, Solyanka. Only at Solyanka can you get a bowl of delicious coconut and prawns soup and a huge-ass Long Island Ice Tea for under 1,000 Rubles.
Later that night I did just that: I celebrated by birthday at Solyanka with a bowl of delicious coconut and prawns soup (360r) and a huge-ass Long Island Ice Tea (500r) for under 1,000 Rubles. Since it was a special occasion I decided to splurge and throw in an order of beef carpaccio with rocket, truffle oil and parmesan (290r) and, for dessert, a slice of passion fruit cheese cake (290r). It was every bit as good as it sounds and made me realize the rumors I had been hearing about Solyanka were true: The kitchen really is the club's secret weapon.
When most people think of Solyanka, which opened this year, they think of the famous Thursday nu-rave party, "Thriller", which is about to be retired. Why would a club retire its most successful night? "We don't want to become too associated with just one party or type of person," explained one of the club's managers. "The idea behind Solyanka is to be like the soup--a mix of everything. You can see it in the music we play, and even on the menu."
The Solyanka menu is an elegantly executed take on the fusion idea, mashing up Thai, Italian, Euro, and Russian. (Solyanka the soup is a bit too Russian for the place, and has been left off the menu.) The crown jewel of the menu is clearly the prawns and coconut soup. In a country full of delicious soups, this Thai creation is the immigrant that became president. It's triple toungasm good--hot, creamy, sweet, buttery, just a touch tangy--like the taste of a perfect sunset at the world's last clean beach. I don't do this lightly, but I would say it's worth trekking out for just to try. If you do make the trip and think I overstate the deliciousness of this dish, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me why I'm wrong. If you convince me, you'll win a black and pink XXL-size eXile t-shirt left over from our Tenth anniversary party.
But I doubt you'll be in a fighting mood after trying the prawns and coconut soup. My guess is you'll want to try something else from the menu. You won't be lacking interesting options. There's a chicken and mango tortilla (230r), lamb loin with sundried tomatoes (560r), and a plate of black spaghetti with crabmeat (490r). Anytime a restaurant can teach you something--lambs have loins; spaghetti can be black--you know you're in good hands.
Remember, you heard it hear first: Solyanka has a retuarant, the "Thriller" parties are history, and the prawns and coconut soup is 200 pounds of densely packed dynamite.
Metro: Kitai Gorod
Address: Solyanka 11/6
Hours: 12 noon – 12 midnight, with shorter night menu on club nights to 6 a.m.
Check out Solyanka in our Bar-Dak guide.