Most of us are probably aware of the culinary experience of ‘dark dining’. First started in Paris in 1997, the idea was that if you eat in absolute darkness without being able to see your food, your sense of taste and smell is enhanced which leads to greater enjoyment of the meal. While the concept continues, other forms of experience dining have developed and many of them elevate fine dining to new heights.
And literally taking you to new heights is Treepod Dining at Soneva, Thailand. Comfortably seated in a bamboo pod, you’re hoisted up into foliage of the rain forest with gourmet delights served by your personal waiter via zip-line.
Next up, for the more technologically inclined, is VR (Virtual Reality) dining at Tree by Naked in Tokyo. Delivering an eight-course dining experience of food and art fusion across three floors, diners are directed by VR technology including projection mapping, music and artwork all at a ‘small’ fee of R5,000 per diner.
If caves and majestic sea views are more your thing, then you won’t want to miss The Grotta Palazzese Restaurant in Italy. About 17 miles from Bari, a medieval town, you get to the cave by descending 64 steps to reach one of the most beautiful dining locations in the world. The restaurant offers two tasting menus, ‘Magico’ and ‘Charming’ which include seafood, pork, pasta and a range of delicious desserts.
And then in South Africa there’s SecretEATS – a ‘by invitation only’ secret dining experience at an undisclosed location that matches serious foodies with top local and international chefs. From wineland homes to private gardens and art galleries, the special evening is always hosted somewhere unique and where you can’t simply go and make a booking. And to make things even more intriguing, the secret chef and menu are only disclosed upon confirmation of password on the day at the secret location.
Looking ahead one can’t help but wonder what experience dining holds in store for us as we move into the second decade of the 21st century! But, while fabulous locations and out-of-the-ordinary dining will always make gastronomy more enjoyable, what can never be beat is the quality of the food – the best food in its simplest setting will always outperform mediocre food in exquisite surroundings. And for top quality, service and delivery, N1 should always be your first call – the best quality meat Cape Town and Johannesburg have to offer!