Sonder, Edinburgh: restaurant review
We try indulgent beef short rib slow cooked in a rich sauce, milk parfait with wildflower honey and strawberry chamberyzette at this Edinburgh restaurant
Looking for restaurants in Edinburgh? Read our review of modern, seasonal restaurant Sonder, and check out more suggestions for eating in Edinburgh here.
In a nutshell: Sonder is the first, globally inspired, restaurant from Trisha McCrae, the co-founder of One Star House Party, which took six top chefs around the world to take part in 20 pop-ups in 20 countries.
Head chef Paul Graham, who has Number One at The Balmoral in Edinburgh, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road and One Star House Party on his CV, developed the succinct menu with Trisha.
What’s the vibe?
Sonder has a large space to fill – its previous incarnation was a Mexican restaurant and the walls were adorned with Day of the Dead sombrero-wearing skeletons. Now it’s been transformed with an open kitchen, chic grey walls and a buzzy, urban feel.
What's the food like?
Diners are recommended two or three plates each and are encouraged to share. There’s not a huge choice (four dishes each across ‘snacks’, ‘garden’, ‘land’ and ‘sea’) but there are plenty of exciting flavour combinations.
Scottish ingredients feature heavily but the lessons learnt from two years of globe trotting are clear. Local crab with daikon, coriander and nage is a delicately prepared plate with an Asian twist, a vibrant herb oil splitting the broth perfectly. Succulent chicken wing, for a snack, comes deboned, skewered and sticky with maple syrup. It’s moreish, so order two. Home baked focaccia, too, is a must order, simply served with whipped mascarpone. Elegant beef short rib comes slow cooked with a rich sauce, served with burnt (intentionally, deliciously) shallots and a rich walnut purée. The stand out dish, though, was the cheese course, listed on the dessert menu and arrived looking like one. A complete surprise with blue cheese ice cream, roasted figs and sticky balsamic reduction.
Other desserts include chocolate, praline and caramel – an intensely rich combination that looks like a deconstructed chocolate truffle. For something lighter try the milk parfait with wildflower honey and puffed rice.
And the drinks?
A cocktail of strawberry chamberyzette is bright and fresh, but the short wine list has plenty by the glass if you’d rather keep it classic. There’s also an all-Scottish beer list featuring the likes of Barneys Red Rye, which is brewed less than a mile away.
olive tip: Go with friends and you’ll pretty much be able to sample the entire menu. Bag a table near the open kitchen to see all the action.
4-78 South Clerk Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1EE
Words by Hilary Sturzaker