As I have said previously, you know a place is good when you want to go back for more. In the short space of spending less than a week in Brisbane Monsieur Poisson and I visited Sono twice – once for dinner, and another time for lunch. Apart from Monsieur Poisson’s love of Japanese food, the other drawcard was the prospect of swordfish sashimi which had been sold out the night of our dinner visit. He was hoping that by turning up for lunch he would beat or, at least, join the crowds who had consumed the fish he had sought after a couple of nights beforehand.
We walk in to find that the restaurant is packed and are asked to leave our name and return in roughly twenty minutes. We’re hungry but also pretty intent on having lunch here so we do a quick spot of window shopping in the meantime. When we return and are seated (at a table instead of a hole-in-the-ground booth this time), Monsieur Poisson is delighted that there is swordfish available so we order it sashimi-style. I suspect I’ve only ever had it cooked before and unfortunately find the texture of the sashimi a little grainy. The flesh is firm however, with definite striations, and I admire the lovingly shaped globe of wasabi alongside – is this much wasabi warranted for only five slices of sashimi?!
Having tried dinner at Sono already, we opt to try dishes which are exclusive to the lunch menu and Monsieur Poisson orders the tenzaru soba. The chilled soba noodles arrive on a bamboo mat next to a small cup of chilled dipping broth and a selection of tempura. The tempura batter is light both in colour and texture. The noodles are smooth on the outside but a bit floury within despite their thinness, and are definitely not as nice as the handmade ones found at Ju Ge Mu & Shimbashi. Monsieur Poisson enjoys the overall refreshing nature of the dish, and especially so due to the warm weather.
I order the sashimi bento after seeing so many of them drift past as we are browsing the menu. There are several choices for the ‘main’ component of the bento and I decide on the Japanese barbequed beef. Each component is not only placed in a separate cavity of the bento, but sits on its own little dish within each cavity. The dishes are each a different colour and the sizes of which appear to have been made to measure as they fit so snugly. Rice and miso soup with slivers of tofu skin, not the usual tofu and wakame, accompany the bento.
The red dish contains half a deep-fried soft-shell crab with shiso sauce which we already had the fortune of trying at dinner previously. My chosen main component of the bento unfortunately is a little disappointing as I was expecting a more charred tasting beef, which also happens to be a bit dry. The salad is fresh and crunchy with a light, creamy dressing and a cooked prawn on top. The plate of sashimi is generous for a bento and even comes with scallops as well as salmon evenly streaked with fat. But the resounding highlight is the final component which looks like three canapés – there is a skewered quail egg with a ‘cake’ of fish roe, a slice of beef tataki with cranberry jelly, and an intricate ‘noodle cake’ with a base of soba topped with a layer of mushroom then egg which is finally topped with a layer of cooked prawns set in gelatine. They’re so pretty that I almost cannot bring myself to eat these last three things. Almost.
We leave, as we did after dinner, with full bellies and as very satisfied customers. We head out into the sunshine and go for an extensive walk to work up an appetite for the last dinner we’ll be having in Brisbane as part of this trip.
Level 1, Tattersalls Building, cnr Queen St & Edward St, Brisbane QLD
Tel: (07) 3220 1888
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs 12pm-2:30pm (lunch)
Fri 12pm-2:30pm (lunch)
Sat 6pm-10pm (dinner only)