Sofika Boulton was studying engineering at university when she first took a restaurant job to make some extra cash. All of a sudden, she was hooked on hospitality and the buzz of the restaurant scene.

She went on to work at Wildflower and the now-closed Flour Factory before moving on to open Bar Rogue as head chef. Her stint at Bar Rogue garnered her widespread industry recognition, and Broadsheet named her a next-gen chef to watch..

Since taking on a role as head chef at Sonny’s, Boulton has garnered a reputation for simple dishes cooked over a roaring firepit, considered snacks, and a Basque cheesecake that one of our writers is genuinely obsessed with.

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When she’s not churning out some of Mount Hawthorn’s best dishes, she’s picking up pizza or charcoal chicken from a local takeaway, heading to the farmers market, or getting a late-night feed in Chinatown.

What’s your go-to for a quick takeaway?
Always pizza. My go-to is the smoked mozza and ’nduja from Monsterella. The pizza there is consistently some of the best.

And for a drink and snacks?
I recently went to Edward & Ida’s and discovered the “mini Guinny” (a mini Guinness). A bowl of curry salt chips paired with a mini Guinny really hits.

If it’s a special occasion, where are you headed?
I think I’ve probably given these guys a million shout-outs but I’ll keep doing it – Vasse Felix is still putting out banger menus. I’ll always make the effort to go there when I get the chance. They definitely always make it feel special.

And where’s the best coffee in town?
I hate having to make this decision because I love the coffee at so many spots and I hate the idea that any of them would see this and not see their name! But ultimately I go to Preston Street Coffee the most. It’s my local and such a lovely little spot. It consistently executes amazing coffee. I had a filter there about a year ago that I still think about.

What’s your favourite dish on the menu at Sonny’s?
This is hard because I always want to talk about all the dishes on the menu! Maybe controversially, my favourite dish we have on at the moment is probably the hash brown packed full of Cambray Farmhouse Gold and cheddar, covered in chives, with a big old dollop of Meander Valley crème fraîche. It is just a hashbrown, but we messed around a bunch with different potatoes and methods until we made the crispiest and fluffiest hashy we could. We’ve had some form of potatoes in that menu spot since we opened, and I think we’ll just keep on finding new ways to serve potatoes forever and ever, but this is definitely my favourite so far.

And is there a hidden gem that you think is underrated but great?
There’s a tiny little charcoal chicken place near my house called On Fire Charcoal Chicken. Inconveniently, it’s closed on my days off, but whenever I get the chance to go there I absolutely will take it. The half chicken with spicy rice and a fattoush salad is my go-to.

What’s your go-to hangover feed?
Good Fortune Duck House roast duck and rice, followed by a ginger beer at Picabar.

Tell us about a local producer you can’t stop thinking about?
Thanks to a good friend’s recommendation I’ve been hitting the Manning farmers markets most weeks to pick up produce for Sonny’s. I’ve had a cucumber salad on the menu for a month or two that really depends on the incredible cucumbers and melons I’ve been getting from Truly Organic Farms. There are loads of great producers at the markets, but that’s the one I’ve been hitting the most lately.

What’s your favourite spot for a late-night feed?
It’s gonna come as no surprise that my answer is Billy Lee’s in Chinatown.