Sunny Holiday is not only beautifully
decorated, it serves up one of the widest selections
of authentic international cuisine in Beijing. As the
name suggests, this is a place where you can relax and
enjoy yourself. With its affordable prices, it's also
a respite from similar, but more expensive, Western
eateries around town.
You can indulge in food prepared
with care, and fine imported wines hand-picked by the
maitre d'. Sunny Holiday has the ambience of a Mediterranean
holiday. You can pretend you have ducked into a cool
bistro after a day of basking in the warm sun.
According to manager Woody Cheng,
32, the restaurant opened after five months of planning
and construction - a considerable length of time in
a city where buildings are knocked down, replaced and
open again for business in the blink of an eye.
The payoff is immediate as you walk
in the door. The deep turquoise ceilings and softly-lit
yellow walls lend the place a distinct Mediterranean
feel. Colored glass bottles from Spain line a brick
wall next to hand-crafted blue and white ceramic plates.
The dining room floor is paved with imported Mexican
tiles, while large South American-influenced stained
glass windows cover the wall facing the bar.
Reading the four menus at Sunny Holiday
- the Main Menu, Specials, Pizza and Pasta, and International
Daily Specials - is like reading a series of colorful,
short novels. The exquisite offerings would make any
four-star chef envious.
What is really unique about this
place is its daily International special. Each day of
the week features three famous dishes from a national
cuisine. We happen to visit on a Wednesday, which is
German Day. Never having had brilliant German food before,
I was initially skeptical as to how a Beijing eatery
could surpass native ones. However, the Frankfurt Sausage
with Green Pea Stew and Spaetzle (oval-shaped pasta)
is surprisingly good - and tastes infinitely better
than it sounds.
The global tastes tour begins on
Monday in Mexico, with dishes like Chili Con Carne.
Tuesday offers French food, with Baked Snails and other
selections. Wednesday is German fare. Thursday is English
Night (the Quail comes highly recommended) and Friday
Mediterranean (think Musaka). The weekend is celebrated
with Italian on Saturday nights and Spanish delights
"I wanted to take the best dishes
from each country and bring them to China for both foreigners
and Chinese to enjoy," says Cheng.
Our meal begins with a sample of
starters. Seasonal Green Salad with homemade creamy
French dressing and the Chicken Roll Sunny Holiday-Style.
Both are delicious, particularly the chicken roll, which
consists of chicken-liver pat served on a bed of crispy
romaine lettuce and sprinkled with a light Italian dressing.
The large and varied menu gives us
an excuse to spoil ourselves and order a large number
of main courses. The South American Pizza is perfect,
one of the best pizzas I've had since arriving in China
more than a year ago. The base is thick, but not Pizza
Hut-greasy and is smothered in a gloriously rich and
tangy homemade tomato sauce. Every one of the ten or
so pizzas on the menu are large enough to feed two people
comfortably, or one person for a week.
The Gratin Chicken Breast with Mushrooms
and Cheese is also well-received and quickly devoured.
The Spaghetti Bolognese and the White Cabbage Roulade
with Meat Stuffing are first-class. And if you are looking
for that perfect wine to go with your meal, a full selection
of hand-picked imported wines covers one wall, replacing
the traditional wine list. Like ripe fruits, the bottles
sit waiting to be picked and uncorked.
In short, Sunny Holiday's food is
excellent. As one of my dining companions put it "this
is the best Western food I have ever had in China."
Considering how many Beijing restaurants now cater to
foreign tastes, this is high praise indeed.
Sunny Holiday is a place where you
could happily spend an evening relaxing over good food,
wine, and conversation, and not notice the hours slip
by. The cotton napkins, fresh black pepper served straight
from the mill by waiters, and complimentary supply of
fresh bread only enhance the feeling that you are in
a restaurant that knows how to take care of its customers.
In fact, you feel like you are on a much overdue holiday.
Sunny Holiday Restaurant & Bar
No. 7 Gongti West Road, Chaoyang District
Hours: 11 am-2 am (No orders taken after 10 pm)
Food: **** Ambience: **** Service:
*** Cost: YYY