Happiness on a plate in Sunshine’s steakhouse and Asian kitchen

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Regular readers will know that food is one of the highlights of a cruise – for me and for the majority of passengers. Apart from a brief flirtation with the fitness facilities on Celebrity Silhouette last year, my days at sea revolve around mealtimes more than exercise bikes.
There is a gym on board Carnival Sunshine, and after the ship’s £100 million transformation it now has almost 60 per cent more equipment than before.
Sad to report, it remains unsullied by my perspiration or indeed my determination.
I have, however, become familiar with two of the ship’s finest culinary assets. In the course of two nights I ate at the steakhouse and the Asian speciality restaurant, which features dishes from China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Fahrenheit 555 is a temple for lovers of beef, although it also offers chicken, lamb chops and lobster. Fish is also listed on the menu but I would have to question the claim that it comes “fresh from the market.”
I ate at the equivalent venue on Carnival Breeze last year and was impressed. Sunshine’s version is bigger; it has to be to make room for big men with appetites to match.
Appetisers include jumbo shrimp cocktail, crab cake, lobster bisque and – just for those who are not expecting enough red meat already – beef carpaccio. For the main event, the choice lies between the 14oz New York strip, the 16oz cowboy – a bone-in rib chop – the 16oz spice-rubbed ribeye, or the 9oz filet mignon, also available as surf ‘n’ turf with a lobster tail.
The cowboy (what else?) was a mountain of a meal and I was thankful the accompanying baked potato was of manageable proportions. No lack of flavor in the tender steak but it took some effort to clear the plate.
One of our group was celebrating his birthday, so generous slices of a mouth-watering chocolate cake provided dessert instead of having to choose from the cheesecake, the caramelized apples and the chocolate sampler on the menu.
It’s a good job the Piano Bar was only just across the corridor and I did not have to travel further before heading for my cabin and bed.
The cover charge at Fahrenheit 555 is $35 per person. Imagine what similar meal would cost at a city centre steakhouse ashore (and I’m not talking about those London tourist traps that begin with the letter ‘A’) and you can see what a bargain it is.
But if that was value for money, wait for the Ji Ji Asian Kitchen. It charges $12 a head ($5 for children) and is simply sensational.
There are seven appetisers and soups, and six main courses on the menu. Our table of six was advised to order four of each between us, but I’m sure we went beyond that.
The chicken and cilantro root soup was sheer delight, the slow-braised pork belly in caramel chili sauce a complete indulgence, and the Nanjing duck and various dim sum a real treat. Starters completed, I could have sat back replete, but the main event was still to come.
Kung Pao chicken was fiery hot and I soon realized it was safer to leave the slices of chili on the side of the plate. Highlight of the evening was the Bo Kho slow-braised Wagyu beef short rib, so meltingly tender it could be sliced with a chopstick. Sadly I couldn’t find room for even a mouthful of Chairman Mao’s master stock pig – it looked memorable. I did manage to squeeze in a plate of caramelized crepes with Calamansi citrus ice cream, a Filipino treat that appropriately enough as we were just heading for Sicily, was a nod in the direction of heaven’s own cannoli.
Sunshine is the first Carnival cruise ship to feature a Ji Ji restaurant – it also serves a Mongolian wok stir fry selection at lunch for no additional charge. It won’t be long before Sunshine passengers spread the word and other ships get their own versions.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:30+00:00 25 July 2013|Cruise food|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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