Sono, Portside

Japanese food is one of my favourite cuisines. I love the simplicity and the delicate presentation. The flavours are fresh and somehow you just feel all the more healthy for eating it.

Recently Miss P and I treated ourselves to Sono at Portside as a pre-show lunch before Cavalia. Yes, it was one of those special days when I appreciate how lucky I am to be able to enjoy such luxuries in life.

Sono has a beautiful fit-out. Lots of wood tones, subdued lighting and a choice of traditional seating or normal table and chairs. We decided to live dangerously and go with traditional seating, thinking we’d be cross-legged on the floor with a low table but in actual fact, once you remove your shoes,  you step into a kind of sunken box (no leg crossing neccessary). It’s hard to explain. You feel a little unruly getting in and out but once seated, it’s kinda cool.

We were seated next to a large window that looks out over the Brisbane River. Unfortunately our view was the side of a cruise ship and the legs of people walking past to board the ship. One of our lovely waitresses apologised that the view wasn’t more pleasant but it didn’t at all detract from our lunch.

The Sono menu is large and could be a little intimidating if you aren’t familiar with Japanese food but the staff are so helpful I’m sure they’d be happy to recommend popular dishes.

We started with a combination platter of Sashimi, which included Tassie salmon, Qld tuna, Hiramasa Kingfish, New Zealand Snapper and New Zealand Blue Eye Trevalla. It was presented over a bowl of dry ice which looked magical. Visually, a beautiful dish and a great way to start our lunch.

Sashimi platter

This was followed by the appetiser platter. A sample of six traditional delicacies including Edamame (fresh baby soybeans, boiled and sprinkled with salt), a fresh oyster with ponzu sauce, Kani cream Korokke (deep-fried croquette filled with cream and blue swimmer crab meat), Agedashi tofu (crispy deep-fried locally made tofu, topped with crispy rice pebbles and a bonito broth), Gyu Tataki (seared beef thinly sliced with a citrus soy sauce) and duck with asparagus and teriyaki sauce. The crab croquette was sweet and moreish and the beef was a melt in your mouth morsel of yum! Miss P scored my oyster. I know, call me crazy, can do raw fish but can’t do oysters!


Gyoza was next. In my humble opinion, you can’t have a Japanese meal without these. Pan-fried pork dumplings with a dipping sauce. Gyozas are big news in Brisbane at the moment with several restaurants specialising in these tasty delights. These were definitely some of the best I’ve had. Light and flavoursome, beautifully steamed on one side and fried golden on the other. I learnt to make these at a Mondo Organic Japanese cooking class a few years ago so they are a firm favourite in our house.


We were starting to feel a little full by this stage but couldn’t resist trying a few things from the dessert menu. Miss P opted for the Green tea parfait. A green tea sponge with green tea ice cream, served with sticky rice balls, azuki beans and a green tea sauce. This dessert was all about the colour. It’s not often desserts are green. The green tea sauce was poured by the waitress and it looked spectacular. The sponge was light and the sauce sweet. The ice cream was the winner. Not sure about the azuki beans, an acquired taste I think.

Green tea ice cream

I choose the dessert duo which was a custard pudding with burnt toffee sauce, vanilla bean ice cream and a citrus yoghurt mousse with strawberry sauce and tiny pieces of apple jelly. Served in what looked like egg cups, it was really cute presentation. The winner here was the custard with burnt toffee sauce. I’m a sucker for burnt caramel or toffee and this didn’t let me down. It wasn’t a particularly Japanese dessert but a nice light finish to the meal.

Dessert duo

I enjoyed Sono for lunch but I think in the evening the atmosphere would be lovely. It’s definitely worth a visit and I hope to be back sooner rather than later.

Open for lunch midday Wednesday to Sunday and dinner from 6pm Tuesday to Sunday.

p: 3268 6655

Portside wharf, opposite the cinema, Hamilton


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