Since it was announced that Birmingham’s Lasan group would be opening a new restaurant in Leicester there’s been a lot of talk about what Sonrisa would hold.
A reimagination for a beautiful city centre spot, a taste of Buenos Aires, a fabulous interior. All the boxes were ticked, so what about the final product?
The menu concept is small plates. Let’s be honest, small plates are everywhere at the moment, but Sonrisa really manages to strike the right chord with their offering. A taste of Argentina flows throughout the menu, from the spices used, the picante chimichurri, the steaks and then through to the wine menu, featuring a few Argentinian favourites.
The menu is all small plates aside from a couple of steak options which can be chosen as main course sizes. When ordering you’re informed that dishes come out as and when they’re ready as would be expected in a traditional Buenos Aires setting, so this can make it more difficult to order traditional “starters”. But with so much to choose from why not embrace the spirit of Argentina and graze away on the plethora of choices?
You really are spoilt for choice with the range of dishes on the menu so narrowing it down to a few select plates is not easy. Our favourite small plate was the Beef Croquette, with its cured beef and creamy filling and crisp coating, served with garlic aioli.
We also tried the Octopus which was served on a delicious bed of potato and roasted pepper . I must admit to feeling a little disappointed at the small segment of octopus atop the potatoes, but having since seen other posts on social media of the dish this doesn’t seem to always be the case, so may be down to a little opening inconsistency as opposed to a major issue with the dish. A further notable mention to the Duroc Pork Belly, which was served with apricot chimichurri, potato terrine and garlic aioli. The pork belly was beautifully cooked and presented.
We also opted for two steak options; the main course size Fillet Tail (300g) and the small plate (150g) March Flat Iron dish. The fillet comes served with large cut chips in a creamy sauce and parmesan and if you’re wanting a proper main course option you won’t be disappointed. The Flat Iron was a perfect dish (pictured below). Faultless in my opinion. Not only was it cooked perfectly but it was a generous portion for what was considered a “small plate” and priced at under £10. As a steak fan to have this accompanied by a couple of the other small plates is the perfect meal choice when dining at Sonrisa. Personally, I’d recommend opting for that over the single main course steak option.
On to desserts and both the Muscovado Pudding and Chocolate Fondant were delicious. The Chocolate Fondant is accompanied by a coffee ice cream, giving a lovely after dinner finish. Despite reading other comments on social media I am pleased to report that the inside of the fondant was beautifully melted chocolatey goodness.
Of course Sonrisa is a perfect setting for a night out, be it with friends or a date night, so that certainly lends itself to cocktails. The cocktail menu covers a wide choice of flavours and there’s a little magic put into their design, with dry ice and almost chemical style presentation. Honestly, the Sapphire is an Instagram dream. And the taste? The Sapphire was perfectly sweet but I’d have perhaps liked a slightly stronger taste of gin in there, however that did mean it was dangerously easy to drink. I can see how a cocktail session here could go awry (in a good way). And my cocktail of choice will always be an Espresso Martini so the White Chocolate Espresso Martini was a must try and it didn’t disappoint. Beautifully smooth and creamy, with the perfect coffee hit. A perfect choice in lieu of dessert as well.
The wine list is also worth delving into and their list of Argentinian options are a nice choice to pair with your food. The Winemaker’s Reserve Malbec and others can be enjoyed by the glass or there are other more expensive options to enjoy by the bottle, including the Argentian Altura Pinot Noir and the Lote Negro Malbec.
The interior really has been well thought out and it’s lovely to see into the lively open kitchen. The staff were all incredibly friendly and helpful, from explaining the food menu to advising on drinks.
If enjoying a few dishes, cocktails, wine and desserts then Sonrisa isn’t a cheap night out, but nor should it be for the product and style that you’re getting. With Knight & Garter and Orton’s holding up the city’s brasserie style dining and a number of brilliant independent casual dining options, there was a gap in Leicester for a lively high end addition, and Sonrisa is just that.
Sonrisa is located at 4 St Martin’s. Bookings can be made via the Sonrisa website.
Our meal was provided free of charge for review purposes but we were under no obligation to give a positive review.