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74 S Clerk Street,
0131 667 7032
5-late, Wed-Sun

Flash and Click! at Camera

Restaurant Sonder, though open only around 8 months, meshed seamlessly into the list of top quality hit-list food experiences, having been the first to ramp up foodie action on the previously underperforming south side. Characteristically of the owners, they’ve been keeping their powder dry while quietly planning another welcoming stylish venue with similar integrity, located directly below (with its own private doorbell & entrance).

Fulfilling the function of pre-dinner aperitif spot and after-dinner continuation with a subtle change of vibe, as well as a comfortably cool bar in its own right, we ventured to explore the new depths. A rotating list of 5 wines, swapped out for new discoveries after 5 cases, differ from those on the menu upstairs, sold either in small glasses, half carafes or bottles, giving the curious drinker motivation to try more different styles, and gelling well with those who choose a multiple small plate experience.

Three beers on tap tonight cover stalwarts of the Scottish spectrum - from classic clean old school Tennents lager via Volcano IPA from Barney’s round the corner, to Glasgow’s Drygate Pilsner. But the beer offer keeps on going: to suit those who’ve come in a crowd, and perhaps go for a slow-cooked meat sharer in Sonder, they keep big sharing bottles of Quilmes from Argentina, along with particularly interesting canned beers, including alcohol-free Estrella.

Here in the basement, they’ve unearthed pretty unusual cocktail ingredients & combinations.  Escubac, a kind of ‘non-juniper not-gin’ yet paired with tonic, stars in both one of the (5, naturally) house hiballs and one of the 5 market menu blackboard cocktails, each named after the initial impression for the taster. My ‘Orange’ did indeed contain citrus (a waste-free blend of bits & bobs of the various fruits used for garnishes, etc), but also Amaro and Fernet, finishing with a bitter tannic edge of Earl Grey - simultaneously refreshing, sweet, rich, deep and moreish. We also loved Fiona’s Spiced Rum/Pineapple/Anise cocktail, with an edge of Peruvian lime cutting through
the rich roasted pineapple savour.

I couldn’t resist what they advertise as ‘a little cuddle in a mug’. Amaro appears again, blended with Ceylonese Arrack and coconut milk, in the process becoming the contemporary cream-free answer to the classic Brandy Alexander. Fantastic. 

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