Outlying Islands, Restaurant Review

Review: Solera in Discovery Bay

A few weeks ago a new restaurant opened in Discovery Bay, above the Pacific Coffee Company outlet next to the ferry terminal. It is called ‘Solera’ and is a Spanish restaurant. We had heard a few good things about it and given that it is run by the same owner as the fantastic Thai in Discovery Bay, we decided to give it a go.

The restaurant is on the first floor and is very big. It has an open kitchen and a big bar. There were lots of tables, I would guess around 30 tables, but when we arrived it was an early Sunday evening so only a few tables were occupied. The waitress brought us the menus and told us that they don’t have a license yet, so they can’t sell alcohol. No problem, we ordered hot water (for me) and a coke (for Patrick). She quickly brought us our drinks as well as some bread and olive oil.

The menu is pretty big, lots of starters, soups, mains including paella and of course tapas. We decided to order three tapas each and just share them. They have meatballs on the menu, but only with a creamy mushroom sauce. That seems wrong. We asked if they could make them with a spicy tomato sauce instead (like they are traditionally served) but unfortunately they could not. Ok, so we ordered other dishes instead. Overall the menu read very fancy and not traditional at all, and once the dishes were served we noticed that they all tried too much to be ‘modern’ and ‘extravagant’ and we felt let down.

Solera Discovery Bay 2 Calamari

The deep fried squid with smoked paprika aioli (75 HKD) were nice and tasty. Not too chewy, exactly the way we liked them.

Solera Discovery Bay 4

The patatas bravas (58 HKD) are a classic dish – normally just fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce. This time it was a fancy interpretation with alioli foam and a hint of paprika sprinkled on top. The potatoes were too raw, not well cooked, and the foam was cold.

We had four very salty anchovies with a salmorejo, which is a tomato and bread soup. The soup was cold, the anchovies were warm. Overall the saltiness mixed well with the tomato and bread soup, but for 95 HKD it was a very small portion.

The gambas in garlic were nicely fried and very garlicky. But just four pieces, which were already a little cold, for 88 HKD is not cheap either. This was one of the better dishes this evening.

Solera Discovery Bay 6

Four bacalahao fritters with parsley aioli for 66 HKD did not taste after fish at all. They could have just been fried potatoes.

Solera Discovery Bay 5

The most expensive dish (120 HKD) was actually the dish I hated. It was an organic egg with tiny pieces of too salty ham and greasy potatoes. It could have tasted amazing, as the ingredients on the menu sounded lovely – but we could not make out the onion confit, the Iberico ham or why the egg supposedly was cooked at 63 degrees only (yes it was runny but that was all). A strange dish. Too greasy and we did not finish it. No one asked us if we liked the dish – but the waitress could see that we hardly touched it.

Not only were we cold (there was no heating in the restaurant except an outdoor heater at the entrance) but also most of the dishes arrived lukewarm – they did not feel freshly prepared. That’s a shame, given that it was 6.30pm on a Sunday and not busy at all. The cooks could have taken their time and prepared the dishes fresh.

Will I go there again? NO. We paid 700 HKD for six small dishes that were already prepared in advance and we did not even have any alcohol. That was very expensive and we did not feel satisfied. The dishes tried to be too modern – it would have been nicer to have traditional tapas, well prepared, than the dishes with aioli foam and fritters. The service was nice, but that was all.

1st floor (above Pacific Coffee Company), D Deck, Discovery Bay
Tel 2555 0772

8 thoughts on “Review: Solera in Discovery Bay”

  1. Sorry about the cold food – they should be ashamed! Ruth, why do you order hot water? Did you bring a tea bag? Or you just drink hot water? Is that why you are so pretty? If so, I will start drinking it right now!!

    1. Haha – here in Hong Kong lots of people drink hot or warm water. It’s better for your body than drinking cold water. I started to like it too, especially as you can get it in every restaurant free of charge. Most of the time it will be served the minute you sit down, similar to the US version of serving ice water as soon as you arrive. If you think that’s too bland, you can ask for a slice of lemon to be added, which is nice too.

      1. I drink my water at room temperatur. When I am cold and I dont want to make tea, I heat the water. And I don’t mind drinking it hot.

    1. I tend to drink water that has been boiled and cooled down a little – that’s because I don’t know how clean the tap water is. I’m hoping once it’s been boiled any bacteria will have died! If you use bottled water you can just warm it up and drink it.

      1. I distill my water (add minerals back to it) I don’t trust the water either. I sure don’t like battled water either. Had to drink when I had no kitchen to distill anything, I was sooo glad to get my good fresh water back. You don’t realise how bad the bottled water taste until you drink the distilled one again.

      2. Oh my goodness I would love that! But you might be disappointed with my simple little town after all the wonderful things you have seen!!
        I have 2 distillers and once a week (sometimes more often) I make 2 gallons and I always have already some on hand, so I never run out. I will teach you all I know about distilling. I will send you some information on distilling if you want me to.. My doctor told me to distill my water in 1980 when I was so sick and I was at Vanderbilt Uni and ever since I have distilled.

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