By their very nature, every rooftop bar is different. Particularly in Brisbane, where the hills that surround the city give each highrise a particular outlook.
Soko is no different. 14 storeys above the Jubilee Hotel on St Pauls Terrace, just north of the CBD, it has views like no other. It's also a proper rooftop, with an expansive sense of scale. Almost 1500 square metres in size and shaped around a couple of enormous garden beds, there’s capacity for 500 punters. They populate a moodily lit internal dining room of high ceilings, deep green tiles and green velvet furniture, pendant lamps and hanging greenery, and a more brightly detailed outside balcony with lounge and bar seating.
There’s a loose but heady Amazonian theme here, Ledingham and Colombian-born co-owner David Hernandez (formerly Evita’s head chef) have created a menu that brings together Peruvian and Japanese flavours (although Ledingham emphasises that this isn’t nikkei, the popularised Peruvian-Japanese cuisine).
The menu is split across small plates, ceviche, shared mains and sushi rolls. You might start with grilled shishito peppers, or crispy shichimi-garlic squid with creamy yuzu. Bigger plates might include steamed rice with slow-roasted chorizo in banana leaves and a salsa criolla (red onions, aji amarillo peppers, lime juice and cilantro); lacquer-grilled corn-fed chicken with scarlet honey-sansho pepper soy; or a 400-gram grilled grade 9 Wagyu rib eye served with salsa verde, wasabi ponzu and black volcanic lava salt.
The ceviche menu takes in a bunch of different seafood such as sea bream, yellowfin tuna, red snapper and prawns. There’s also a vegetarian option which might be mushroom ceviche, and you can order a selection for the table.
Drinks are led by cocktails – in particular, a long list of Pisco Sours from which you choose a variant of Barsol pisco and match it to a blend (mango and togarashi, say, or melon and wasabi). Elsewhere, there are signature cocktails, a healthy selection of sake and an efficient wine list.
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