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December 8 2021 12:40 PM ˚
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At Solaya, the food involves all the senses

Handout from Solaya restaurant and lounge (1)
(Photo: Handout from Solaya restaurant and lounge)
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AMMAN — Solaya Restaurant & Lounge is the latest in ATICO Fakhreldin Group’s illustrious repertoire of high-end restaurants. Located in Abdoun, this restaurant’s menu boasts an ever-shifting assortment of dishes, earning it a five star rating from the Ministry of Tourism, making it the first restaurant in Jordan to receive this accolade. Often frequented by tourists, embassy members, and those taking advantage of the restaurant’s business lunch offer, Solaya affects an air of sophistication.  اضافة اعلان

(Photo: Handout from Solaya restaurant and lounge)

The restaurant is decorated in an eclectic combination of modern and classic. Chandeliers hanging from the ceiling contrast beautifully with the chic modern furniture, and the open plan makes the restaurant feel airy. Walking up to the second story of the building leads you to the lounge section, where one can enjoy a more laid-back atmosphere.

(Photo: Handout from Solaya restaurant and lounge)

Every aspect of the meal is homemade, from the three types of butter served with their breadbaskets to every garnish and sauce. For our appetizers, we ordered Burratta, the Beef Carpaccio, and the Tuna Tartar.

(Photo: Handout from Solaya restaurant and lounge)

The appetizers were refreshing and light, satisfying but not so filling as to impede the guests’ ability to enjoy the rest of their meal. The food was characterized by a signature freshness, thanks to their insistence on not relying on frozen or premade food.

(Photo: Tala Kayyali)

For our main course, we ordered the Wild Salmon and Pearl Barley, and the Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin. Both dishes were lavish and rich in taste, with portion sizes that were perfectly satisfying. The sous vide style of preparation created a taste unlike anything that I was used to, making me savor every bite.

(Photo: Tala Kayyali)

The dessert was by far my favorite part of the meal, which speaks volumes as every dish that came before was better than the last. The dishes selected were a Deconstructed Mango Cheesecake and a Chocolate Souffle. I tend to not be a fan of cheesecakes generally, but this one made me change my stance entirely. The combination of the ingredients and the perfect balance between sweet and tart made the experience unlike any other. The chocolate souffle is also a dream come true for any chocolate-lover, with its rich texture and creamy insides.

I had the opportunity to sit down with both Youssef Fakhriddin, the project manager, and Maher Al-Qaisi, the food and beverage director, who spoke to me in greater depth on the intricacies of their operation. They said that one of the greatest challenges they faced was attempting to launch at the onset of the pandemic, at a point where dining out was all but impossible across the globe.

Such a massive setback left them at a crossroads: they could cut their losses and downsize the team of experts that they spent months hand-picking, or they could sit tight and hope that once the global crisis clears up, they are able to pick up where they left off. They chose the latter and patiently waited until it was feasible for them to launch.

They told me that the reason why they held onto their team with an iron grip was because they were all selected for their unique skill and passion for this culinary art form. Most studied for years to perfect their craft, ensuring that each meal was lavish and rich.

Fakhriddin told me that growing up his father, vice chairman and CEO Essam Fakhriddin, instilled in them the knowledge that “food is an art that involves all the senses”, and that sentiment was evident in every aspect of the meal. From the rich aromas, the beautifully laid out plates, the variety of textures, and, most importantly, the exquisite taste, the meal tingles each sense.

I also took a quick tour of their kitchens, which run like a well-oiled machine. There are designated sections for every part of the meal preparation process — a pasta section, a meat section, a dessert section, and so on.  

Overall, Solaya is an experience unlike any other. The portion sizes were reasonable, the service was impeccable, the atmosphere was a delight, and the food did nothing but satisfy.

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