Unique dining experiences of the world – there are venues to humour even the most adventurous diner and others that may not even have been thought of.
A good meal at a restaurant is something to enjoy and look forward to but now this can be coupled with an extraordinary adventure in which a meal is eaten in a unique and pioneering setting. Diners are seeking more than just the food experience they want to make more of the location in which they eat it, it is all part of the whole adventure. Dining in novel locations and in adventurous situations can enhance the whole food experience. There are so many to choose from and one person’s dream may be completely different from someone else’s, but the options detailed in the outlines below are sure to provide some ideas that will push the boundaries. Look for inspiration and imagine dining in a basket high in the trees, dining on the edge of a cliff, enjoying the best gourmet food from a magical underwater restaurant or flying through the sky like a magic carpet adventure. It is all possible and just requires a dream that indulges the idea that culinary experiences need not be confined to traditional restaurant settings.
PREMIUM SKY DINING FLIGHT, SINGAPORE
The Singapore Premium Sky Dining Flight is an amazingly spacious capsule on top of Asia’s largest observation wheel which provides a unique and romantic sky dining experience. The four course menu includes a choice of either Western or Chinese cuisine, an in-flight host and magnificent skyline views. The rotating capsule allows magnificent sights of Singapore including the Gardens by the Bay, the Marina Bay skyline and The Central Business District.
There is a tranquil calm feeling as the capsule rotates through the various scenes at a rate of two rotations per hour. The four-course dinner comes with an appetizer, soup, a choice of main course and dessert, all served within the capsule. Dishes are seasonal including favourites such as the Waldorf Salad, a delicious Vichyssoise soup, grain fed striploin steak, served with mashed potato and asparagus and peppercorn sauce or a lobster thermidor oven baked with a cheese crust and served with meclun or macadamia crusted seabass. Dessert is a luxuriously rich chocolate cremeux with a silky smooth textured chocolate mousse.
TREEPOD DINING IN THE RAINFOREST, THAILAND
Treepod Dining is a unique dining experience set in the award winning luxury resort of Soneva Kiri which is located on Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood. It is surrounded by lush, tropical rainforest and white beaches and can be reached by a short 70 minute flight on the resort’s private plane direct from Suvarnabhumi Airport, or alternatively by domestic flight from Bangkok to Trat followed by a short boat ride to Koh Kood. The free spirited nature of childhood was the inspiration for the Treepod, the desire to climb high up into a leafy canopy and find shelter amidst a simple wooden construction where imagination soared and dreams were born.
The Treepod Dining experience invites guests to take fine dining to new heights – imagine being comfortably seated in a bamboo pod and being gently hoisted high up into the tropical foliage of Koh Kood’s ancient rainforest. Peace and wondrous sights emerge as guests gaze out across the boulder-covered shoreline dancing with gentle waves, savour gourmet delights and their chosen wines, delivered via the zip-line acrobatics of a personal waiter.
DINING ON THE NAPA VALLEY WINE TRAIN, USA
The Napa Valley Wine Train was established to preserve a piece of history for future generations. With 100-year-old railcars and a 150-year-old rail corridor, the Wine Train continues railroading traditions that are disappearing from the American landscape. For over 25 years, guests from around the world have been experiencing history in the stunning setting of Napa Valley. This is a journey back in time as adventurers traverse the Napa Valley to a bygone era of luxury, class and nostalgic train travel. Relax, and enjoy a freshly prepared, multiple course gourmet meal and watch the Napa Valley scenery leisurely pass by from the comfort of the dining car.
The collection of vintage railcars has been fully restored to the splendour of their historic potential with Honduran mahogany and brass accents. The antique train has three on-board kitchens, where the passionate culinary team prepare fresh, Californian cuisine, cooked to order for each guest. In the spirit of traditional rail seating, diners will share a table with another party on select packages during the lunch trains. To preserve the romance of the Napa Valley night, all parties enjoy private tables on the dinner trains.
DINING IN THE ICE CAVE OF WHISTLER’S MOUNTAIN, CANADA
The Four Seasons Resort & Residences at Whistler are offering high-altitude dining as part of their Taste of Place global initiative. This high-flying culinary experience features glacial peak aperitifs and panoramic mountain views. Guests are invited to embark on an unforgettable adventure that begins with a short and scenic drive from the resort to Whistler’s heliport. A private helicopter awaits to whisk guests to a remote ice cap as they sip on a glass of sparkling Moët Ice Impérial. To ensure a completely cosy Canadian experience guests will be provided with Canada Goose black label parkas and sleek, waterproof Sorel boots. The helicopter delivers guests to a nearby glacial peak where they embark on an ice cave exploration, discovering a 12,000-year old labyrinth of chambers of aqua blue magnificence.
Participants are asked to gather a crucial ingredient for the upcoming cocktail session – pure glacier ice. The resort’s mixologist will shake the ice into one of their signature specialties amid the majestic beauty of Whistler’s mountain peaks. Once cocktail hour is complete, guests will board the helicopter and take in the alpine scenery before returning to the luxurious Private Residence where Executive Chef Eren Guryel will prepare a memorable dinner boasting locally sourced ingredients and premium meat cuts paired with custom cocktails that complement each dish.
DINING IN SUPERJUMBO A380, TAIWAN
A380 Superjumbo Restaurant Taiwan is set in a dull commercial building in central Taipei. It incorporates an A380 In-Flight Kitchen which looks and functions like an airline in many ways, except that it serves a regular restaurant menu of Western food, sometimes in plastic trays. Since November, the restaurant has been packing in wannabe passengers, who sit in soft speckled blue seats with headrests covered in white napkins and under oval-shaped windows. Locked white baggage compartments hang overhead. Waitresses dressed as flight attendants take meal orders for filet mignon or waffles, as well as the customary fish and chicken. Staff say “welcome aboard” to customers and issue boarding passes to those who must wait for a table. Of the 84 seats, 20 are “first class” or set aside for groups with advanced bookings.
The restaurant, in Taipei’s university quarter, opened after owner Yang Mao-hui figured that he could ride some of the Airbus A380’s recent fame in the aviation industry by offering a simulated experience. Visitors tend to be young diners looking for a new experience – the ambience, the menu options and quality of the food give them just that.
CHILLOUT AT THE ICE LOUNGE, DUBAI
The Chillout Lounge, located at Times Square Center, Dubai, from the Sharaf Group is the first ice lounge in the Middle East. Originally opened in 2007, the lounge had a major refurbishment in July 2014 creating a place that is spellbinding with its ice sculptures, ice seating and tables and uniquely illuminated interior, all at a sub-zero temperature. When visitors arrive they are given thermal clothing to keep themselves warm before they descend to a minus six degree temperature. This comprises of a heavy jacket, woollen gloves, shoes and socks. Visitors are advised to spend a few minutes in a buffer zone so that they can become acclimatised, this is set at five degrees Celsius which gives the body time to adjust to the low temperatures in the main Chillout Lounge.
The Chillout Lounge combines the novelty of sub-zero temperature with a unique interior design. It is a technological innovation in refrigeration, lighting and architecture, an interesting combination of ice, glass and steel. The diffused lighting changes its colours at certain intervals as it filters through crystal clear blocks of ice, filling them with low-lux colours of various patterns. The lounge serves hot soups, sandwiches, juices, hot chocolate, coffee, tea and a variety of desserts, mocktails and confectionary. The Chillout Lounge is the first in the world to serve hot food and beverages in this type of venue.
DINING UNDERWATER, MALDIVES
The Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives, presents contemporary European cuisine 16 feet below sea level in the world’s first undersea eaterie. Rated “the most beautiful restaurant in the world” by the New York Daily News in 2014, Ithaa sits five metres below the surface, offering 180-degree panoramic views of the vibrant coral gardens surrounding it. Ithaa (meaning ‘mother of pearl’ in the Maldivian language of Dhivehi) serves a six-course set dinner menu. Expect indulgences such as caviar for dinner while the four-course lunch menu offers lighter fare. This exciting venue is located on the blissful island resort at the award-winning Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.
The resort, renowned for its exceptional hospitality and luxury setting, has been recognised as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel 2016 & 2015 and the Maldives’ Leading Water Villa Resort 2016 by the World Travel Awards. This dining destination is a gourmand’s paradise with 12 award-winning restaurants and bars. Conrad Maldives was named the Indian Ocean’s Leading Culinary Resort 2015 by the World Travel Awards and is a multi-award winner at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards 2016.
GASTRONOMY & ART AT THE STATE OPERA HOUSE, HUNGARY
In a joint collaboration the Four Seasons and the Opera House have tailored a superlative dining experience in the spectacular Hungarian State Opera House. Foodies and art lovers can hire the Opera House for the night and the organisers will arrange every detail for the party – the experience can be shared by whomever the client requires – it could be two diners or 300 friends. The neo-Renaissance opera house was opened in 1884, although the building work started much earlier in 1875. Designed by Hungarian architect Miklós Ybl, who also designed St. Stephen’s Basilica, the horseshoe shape of the building are the shape for excellent acoustics. The Opera House stage welcomes diners, although normally it is an unwritten law that it is strictly forbidden to eat on stage. However, the orchestra conductor, George Kesselyak, states that “gastronomy has its place in the sanctuary of the opera house as a form of art.” This concession is extended to include the orchestra playing throughout the meal to a programme organised by the client and organiser. Dinner is normally a five-course meal and example dishes include goodies such as sea bass crusted with black olives and veal fillet Rossini (a dish that was said to be created for created for the French composer Gioachino Rossini).
DINNER IN THE SKY, BRUSSEL
An amazing concept, a flying dinner table, it sounds like something out of a fairy table but this is the actuality of a Dinner in the Sky. The concept provides a unique occasion to discover Brussels’ high cuisine in the most extraordinary manner possible, 22 guests and 1 ‘starred’ chef will share an unforgettable gastronomic experience in the skies over the capital, enjoying an unparalleled view of Brussels and its surroundings while delighting in rare dishes and fine wines. Accompanied by the best chefs on the planet (Joël Robuchon, Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Passard...), Dinner in the Sky will take over the sky of Brussels.
It will host the most renowned Brussels’ chefs among which Yves Mattagne of Sea Grill Restaurant, Lionel Rigolet of Comme Chez Soi, Pascal Devalkeneer of Chalet de la Forêt, David Martin of La Paix, Giovanni Bruno of Senzanome, Luigi Ciciriello of La Truffe Noire, and Bart De Pooter of De Pastorale and of WY. Each day the chefs will treat 22 guests to a delicious lunch and two dinners high in the Brussels’ sky. All the menus are five course gastronomical menus prepared and served by the Chef himself with premium wines and champagne Laurent Perrier. The event will take place in June 2017.
DINING IN REDWOODS TREEHOUSE, AUCKLAND
The Redwoods Treehouse was commissioned as part of a marketing campaign by the Yellow Pages in 2008. The result is a striking pod-shaped structure built ten metres high in a redwood tree near Warkworth, north of Auckland. Access to the Treehouse is provided by an elevated treetop walkway. The Redwoods Treehouse is available for hire as a private venue for corporate events, work parties, product launches, intimate weddings and other celebrations. This is a unique and versatile venue which holds 30 guests at seated tables or 50 guests for a stand-up function.
The Redwoods Treehouse supplies a dedicated caterer for all their functions who will ensure impeccable service, fabulous presentation and a quality product. They provide a range of menus to suit any event, from stand up ‘Walk & Fork’ options to fine-dining sitdown meals. They can even arrange a six-course degustation with matching wines. The venue is fully licensed and has a dedicated private road entry and all the client has to do is choose the menu then sit back and enjoy this first-class venue.
DINING ON THE PEAK OF THE WORLD, DUBAI
At.mosphere at the Burj Khalifa is the peak of fine dining in Dubai at an extraordinary 442 metres from the ground. At.mosphere sits on Level 122 of the world’s tallest building, complementing an exquisite array of gastronomical wonders with breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf. The At.mosphere culinary team boasts a critically acclaimed menu of exclusive creations, the results of sourcing unique, high quality produce from around the world, some of which have been grown exclusively to be used in their dishes. The bar area of the restaurant faces in the opposite direction and on a clear day the Burj Al Arab can be sighted – the bar serves afternoon tea.
Dining at this extraordinary height adds another dimension to the superlative food. The menu is an extraordinary read and tempts the taste buds even before the dishes are served – langoustine and basil ravioli, hand dyed sea scallops in their own shell and 36-hour braised lamb shoulder are just a few of the very tempting dishes described.
DINING ON THE CLIFF OF YANGTZE RIVER, CHINA
The Hanging Restaurant Fangweng is located in China, in Hubei Province, about 12km north of the city of Yichang, near Sanyou Cave, or “The Cave of the Three Travelers”. The restaurant is in the Happy Valley of the Xiling Gorge, an especially scenic stretch of cliffs, caves and park land located around the area where the Chang Jiang River flows into the Yangtze. The restaurant gets its name from Lu You, a great poet from Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279). It is said that he had brewed tea in a cave on the mountainside. The entrance to this restaurant is discrete, to dine here restaurant goers must walk into a very modest grey brick building followed by an almost 100 foot long narrow concrete bridge built into the cave that leads to a gem of a restaurant. Dimly lit with Chinese furnishings, Fangweng is a truly amazing restaurant with an incredible ambiance where customers can view the flowing water of the Yangtze River from tables which sit high in the air clinging to the cliff face.
This is a fine dining venue and the Fangweng Restaurant offers a variety of local specialties, based on freshwater fish, duck, pork and even turtle, either smothered in vegetables or spiced up with hot peppers and chili powder. There is plenty for diners to see including all the wonders of Happy Valley and bungee jumpers leaping off a nearby bridge.