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Sonder - five star food fun
New Review
74-78 S Clerk St,
City of Edinburgh,
0131 667 7032
Wed-Thu from 5; Fri/Sat lunch & dinner from 12

Sonder was launched earlier this year with minimal fuss but a big story to tell.  Founders One Star House Party’s global tour took six top chefs including Sonder Head Chef Paul to 20 countries in 20 months for food inspiration, delivering freshly-devised pop-up menus in each location.

Luckily for ‘Burghers, that wealth of experience has come home to roost in Newington.  Short but to the point with stellar samplings under five headings, we noted a few new tweaks to the menu from previous visits, but were only too happy to revisit dishes - their original focaccia bread with whipped mascarpone & olive is a must-have, the mini-loaf lasting throughout the meal as a dipping tool.  

We enjoyed the seasonal Jerusalem artichoke with celery (when Sonder say ‘with x’, they deliver a pure, intense essence of x).  I was also keen to test my established dislike of salt cod in any form, trying a new dish where this is presented flavoured with lemon and garnished with cod skin.  Bracing myself for an over-saline concoction with chewy skin, I ended up in salt cod epiphany, eagerly mopping up delicious brandade-style mousse with garlic chive & crisp puffed skin ‘Quavers’ that could definitely be eaten by the bagful.

Another new dish is farfalle pasta with pumpkin, sage & parmesan.  An umami delight here: tasty toasted seeds against chunky bow tie pasta to scoop up the rich unctuous squash.  A scallop dish has pickled fennel and charred cucumber for relish and texture, while crab with daikon radish in delicate oriental broth is nicely cut with coriander oil.

No space to revisit my previous favourite meat option, melting beef short rib with walnut & charred onion; but a welcome new duck, celeriac & five spice dish with prune ketchup.  We noted the sharing plate of slow cooked lamb three ways that we’d loved before is now joined by a similar pork version.  All these piquant delights are ideally suited to the new ‘grazing’ dining culture, and the short wine list’s rich Montagny complemented everything for us.

 Palates were reset with refreshing green apple streusel and a blue cheese mousse and fig parfait - not too strong to risk spoiling the earlier feast of flavours we were still savouring.  While there, I noticed the Christmas menu - a phrase that normally makes me recoil in horror, yet here I saw a menu definitely worth looking forward to.   One still to try this year! (The Go-Between)

Read other Modern European Restaurant Reviews here 

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