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Brisbane Devoured: Sono Portside

November 15, 2011

Sono Portside

Sono Japanese Restaurant Portside on Urbanspoon

Think of the name Sono and you immediately think of what is widely known to be Brisbanes premier Japanese Restaurant. Sono at Portside was established in 2007 as a more modern accompaniment to its very traditional sister restaurant in Brisbane city. L and I have eaten at Sono in the city years ago for a special occasion (prior to this blog commencing) but had not yet had the privilege of eating at Sono Portside. Imagine our delight when we recieved an invitation to dine there recently.

The restaurant has lovely views overlooking the Brisbane river. Entering the main dining area, its both spacious and luxurious. We were lucky to be seated in one of the larger tables with a view at the window. 

We both immediately decided on the Tasting course ($85 per person), six courses sampling various menu items. We decided against the matching wines ($45 per person). I downed a couple of sweet glasses of umeshu (plum wine), whilst L had the Sake Tasting Set ($28). There were three different types of sake, a sweeter cold sake to be drunk with sashimi and sushi, a dry type, and finally the third sake which our waitress described as being full of umami, that unique Japanese flavour meaning just plain delicious. 

First course was an appetiser platter. I was a bit apprehensive about the tasting course as it promised to be a lot of seafood, something I do not eat a lot of, however as L loves it, I decided to be open minded. The appetiser platter consisted of fresh oyster with lime sauce, soft shell crab karaage with shiso salsa and a cube of seared wagyu with citrus soy and chilli grated radish. The oyster, predictably, was not my favourite part, however the lime sauce atop was fantastically fresh and was the only reason I even ate the oyster. Soft shelled crab was the best part on the plate, whereas the wagyu was a tad bland after all those flavours.

Our next plate was hands down our favourite of the evening, sashimi, the only seafood that I do really love. The salmon was superb, the freshest we've tasted, we wanted a whole plate of it. The tuna was also fabulous, but the snapper beautifully presented in its own bowl with a shallot, sesame and garlic vinaigrette was a surprising highlight, amazing. I had a cute little Australia shaped carrot on my plate too. 

Next was crab meat croquette and scampi spring roll. The crab croquettes were so delicate to touch and so beautifully creamy inside. I was worried about the scampi, having tried it elsewhere I didn't like it, however this spring roll was very tasty.

After this came a sushi plate; seared salmon belly ngiri, prawn tempura and fish tempura rolls. The sushi was beautifully made, so tightly rolled and perfectly shaped, however the small rolls were a little boring in flavour. The seared salmon ngiri was delicious. 

Mains were a choice of South Qld Kobe wagyu striploin, teriyaki orange duck, or the fish of the day (Barramundi that day) with clam sauce. We fought it out, and I had the wagyu whilst L decided to continue the seafood theme with the Barramundi. 

We had a tiny wait for our mains but they were worth it. The wagyu had such delicious buttery marbled flavour. L's barramundi was perfectly moist with a crispy skin, however he was just so jealous of my steak I don't think he enjoyed it as much as he could have!

Our final course was dessert, which was described as a dessert platter on the menu however ended up being tempura fried icecream, both vanilla and sesame flavours. There was a bright berry coulis over the icecream. We both really liked the dessert but felt that after all that food, something lighter could be more appreciated instead of heavy batter. I also felt that instead of vanilla, a decidedly more Japanese green tea flavour would be better.

We finished off with green tea and called it a night. 

Our experience at Sono was wonderful, the service was great, food was fantastic and of a high quality. Sono is highly recommended for a special night out.


Brisbane Devoured dined at Sono courtesy of the restaurant.