Chez Sonia; Normalizing Daytime outdoor movie dates
By Boniface Mwalii
Instagram is cool. But after hours of endless scrolling and double tapping, the need to disconnect your brain from smartphones’ vice-like grip inevitably checks in. When that happens, it’s probably time to hit the outdoors. For Atieno Radido, nothing offers better respite from the infinite world that exists on smartphones and computers than a garden, some wine and a movie.
“Since Covid happened, I can’t travel as much so I break the monotony of working from home by doing refreshing outdoor activities,” she says.
In an attempt to make the most of a bright and sunny Wednesday afternoon, she recently found herself at Chez Sonia, a rustic outdoor eatery located at 68 Peponi Road.
Tucked away on the fringes of Nairobi’s upmarket Westlands neighborhood, the ‘House of Sonia’ is quite easy to miss. Until recently, it has remained a well-kept secret despite being in operation for over a year. The Moroccan themed outlet has gained popularity for its serene ambiance, French gastronomy and the latest addition to its weekly schedule of activities; Screen on The Green.
“I don’t like blockbuster movies,” explains Sonia, the lively proprietor who also doubles as the restaurant’s resident wine sommelier. “Here,we screen different genres from classic European films to contemporary movies depending on the mood of the day.”
Some of the movies that have been showcased at the event include Queen & Slim - a tear jerking drama about love in a racially divided America and The Untouchables - the classic true story of notorious mafia kingpin, AlCapone.
Currently in their third installment, the weekly screening shave attracted a growing community of movie lovers with a majority being blissful couples as well as savvy young ladies. Attendees have to part with Ksh. 300 to attend the event with two separate screenings scheduled at 2.00PM and 5.00PM every Wednesday.
“I like coming here because the space has a homely, laid back atmosphere,” notes Ms. Radido. “They also serve good food and the staff are amazing.”
Chez Sonia’s menu offers a diverse range of treats including the popular “oeuf cocotte” breakfast special, non-alcoholic mock tails for a relaxing afternoon and a variety of cheese infused meals.
Since the introduction of curfew restrictions that came into place at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of daytime visitors to Chez Sonia has increased dramatically despite the fact that the establishment has not been serving alcoholic beverages. According to Sonia, this has forced the restaurant to introduce hot-meals to their menu which initially mainly comprised of cold cuts.
Chez Sonia also serves premium French and Spanish wines for the same price as the more common “mass produced” wines that are sold in most outlets across Nairobi. There are plans to upgrade the house into a private membership program with exclusive offers for regular patrons.