Food Review: Sonder Dining In Bukit Merah | Hidden Euro-Asian Restaurant By Chef Joe Leong
The Place Tucked away in the industrial district of Henderson, Sonder is quite a hidden restaurant which is a two-in-one bakery bistro by day and omakase restaurant of Euro-Asian flavours by night. This hidden gem of a restaurant is Chef Joe’s first independent outpost, branching out from his celebrity chef parents Sam and Forest Leong.
The space and interior of Sonder is elegant and refined, with nicely spaced-out tables and a counter seating where you get the best view of the action in the open kitchen.
The Food Expect a journey of haute cuisine underlined by Euro-Asian flavours with melding elements of Thai, Chinese and local touches, a nod to Chef Joe’s own half-Thai-half-Chinese cultural background.
In the day, Sonder serves up freshly baked breads, viennoiserie and sweet treats as well as an ala carte or set lunch options from S$30++. For dinner, there are three dinner course menus with prices starting from S$88++.
First up for my dinner, some freshly baked bread with three types of butter. I had a trio of Baby Croissant, Rye Sourdough and Focaccia, along with three types of butter – Black garlic, Kombu and Salted butter. I cannot resist freshly baked warm bread and the breads here at Sonder are excellent. My favourite is the focaccia which spots a nice crust at the edge, yet soft in texture at the same time. The kombu butter is great to pair with the focaccia.
Starting with the Amuse Bouche, I first had the Sea Urchin – Bafun Uni topped with calamansi foam and rested on a sesame cracker. Expect fresh, luscious flavour of the Uni.
The next amuse bouche is the Mapo Spanish Tofu which is deep-fried and topped with Szechuan inspired minced pork. Slightly tangy, but very appetising.
Next up is a Starter dish, where I had the Aubergine with red curry sorbert, pearl onions and sun-dried cherry tomatoes. I love this dish. You get a very tangy Thai red curry flavour which is the highlight of this dish for me, much more than the Japanese eggplant. It is topped with some in-house made potato chips for an added crunch.
The first course proper is the Risotto – a roulade of chicken, spring onion pesto and ginger tuile. There are bits of in-house made chilli and dark soya sauce and if you would have guessed it by now, this is a take on Singapore’s local chicken rice dish. I really love that moist texture and delicious flavour of the risotto, a perfect showcase of how east meets west.
Next up was the Seasonal Fish where I had the barramundi, steamed and fried with garlic lime jus. You get a nice firm texture for the fish where the Thai elements are pronounced
For the main course, I had the Kurobuta Pork Collar with burnt apple and coconut glaze. The pork is first sous vide, then grilled over charcoal fire. This is Chef Joe’s take on Thai pork skewers, and I love how tender and flavourful the pork meat is.
For dessert, I had the Red Ruby. It is a coconut sorbet with coconut crumble at the base and wrapped in rose skin along with red ruby by the side. I am usually not a red ruby dessert person, but I love the crumble bits and the rose flavour here which makes this an enjoyable dessert for me.
The other dessert I managed to try was the Sonder Apple which is a take on apple crumble tart where the caramelised apple is coated with brandy.
For Petit Fours, I had the Dragonfruit and chocolate tart along with a Strawberry mousse macaron.
Rants While the obscure location is charming, it is also less convenient to get to without a car.
Will I Return Again? I love the Euro-Asian flavours for the dishes I had at Sonder. There is finesse in the various courses where the flavours for each dish comes out quite strongly. The industrial location also adds to the charm of the restaurant which is quite a destination dining.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
217 Henderson Road, #01-03
Tel: +65 6513 4502
Tuesday to Saturday: 12pm to 5pm; 6pm to 10pm
Closed on Monday & Sunday
Ranted by The Ranter