Here’s a dinner invitation you can’t refuse: Dine in the world’s largest all glass dining room below the surface of the Indian Ocean. Too low? Or you can hang in a glass pod fifty meters above the city, and enjoy dinner prepared by renowned celebrity chefs. Too high? Invite a loved one to dinner in the jungle, under a canopy of trees. Or how about a futuristic multi-sensory technology dinner-scape. Sounds good to me, and the only luggage required is my imagination.
Each virtual culinary adventure is designed to stimulate all the senses and simultaneously enhance the dining experience. These multi-sensory encounters will have you focusing completely, living in the moment. So engaged are we by the surroundings, that all clutter is forgotten, and there is a sense of peaceful other-worldliness.
Imagine dining on the floor of the Indian Ocean, with an immersive 180-degree view of the crystal waters and abundant sea life as you enjoy a multi-course gourmet dinner and wines. The award winning, domeshaped, 5.8 Undersea Restaurant at the Hurawalhi Island Resort, Maldives, nestled on a coral reef, offers an aquatic gallery viewing like nowhere else in the world.
Locally wild-caught seafood is the restaurant’s focus, but if the thought of watching fish and eating fish at the same time is too much, vegan, vegetarian and meat centric menus are also available. Indulge in a private champagne breakfast, complete with professional photographer to capture this bucket-list experience. Dinner is the highlight when, on cue, the stage of the underwater dreamscape is reset from day to night and a new cast appears.
Next on our sensory culinary journey is the realm of high-tech fine dining. It’s a 4D experience in which walls transition into forests, tables into oceans, and corresponding smells and sounds complete a Where the Wild Things Are transformation.
Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai, has won numerous awards, and is noted as the world’s first restaurant to pair multi-sensory technology with avant-garde cuisine, featuring a single table for ten with a twenty-course tasting menu. The enhanced-experience dinner is like a twenty-act sensorial play, starring imaginative dishes supported by immersive atmospheres. Technological wizardry involves lighting, sounds, music, scents, movement and geo-mapping projections.
Our anticipation is heightened as the temperature of the room drops, morphing into a foggy landscape, accompanied by animal and bird sounds, and calming piano music. The air is redolent with the scent of damp wood, soil, leaves and mushrooms. Earthy mushrooms and truffles in smoked cigar leaf sauce are presented in a glass that, when lifted, releases a waft of smoke. We are dining in a forest.
A carnival awaits at Sublimotion by Paco Roncero in Ibiza, where an intimate table for twelve is treated to a twenty-course menu best described as a gastronomic performance of designers, illusionists, composers and choreographers. Descend into hell. Dance on the streets of Ibiza. Enter the world of a Tron-like video game. A seat at the table is a portal to another dimension.
Perched seven metres high up in a canopy of trees, overlooking the ocean and kissed by the breeze, Treepod Dining, at Soneva Kiri Resort in Koh Kood, Thailand is the height of jungle-dining luxury. The design of the bamboo pod, which seats four, is inspired by the weaver bird, known for elaborately woven nests. Indeed, we feel like chirping as our candlelit dinner and cocktails arrive via our personal zip-lining waiter.
Soaring even higher, truly elevated dining is found at Dinner in the Sky, where our champagne-welcome is followed by fastening our seat belts and being hoisted fifty metres up a crane. Our three to six-course menu includes ample seafood platters, and while chef and entertainment take center stage, the temptation is to look down. Guest chefs have included Heston Blumenthal, Massimo Bottura and Virgilio Martinez.
Ocean, Land and Sky offer exhilarating spaces beyond the traditional dining room. Next, we’ll be dining in space, but for now creative chefs are pairing cuisine and environment to take ambience to greater depths, heights and imagination.