Imagine a feast for the senses that goes far beyond just the taste buds. In recent times, the experience of restaurant dining has stepped into the realm of immersive experiences enhanced by emerging technology. Imagine being transported underwater while savouring delicacies or dining amidst captivating projection-mapped scenes that dance across your plate.
The trend is catching on with hoteliers, theme parks and other attractions businesses looking for ways to wow their guests. Here, we look at five immersive dining experiences from around the world that are revolutionising the hospitality business, blending technology and creativity to create truly multi-sensory culinary experiences.
Led by Chef Rasmus Munk in Copenhagen, Alchemist combines art, science, and storytelling to create a holistic approach to cuisine, challenging diners to rethink their perspective on food with a focus on sustainability, biodiversity, and societal impact.
At Alchemist, diners enjoy their meals under a dome-shaped roof that showcases dynamics graphic scenes that align with the culinary theme. In a creation, titled “Burnout Chicken”, presents a chicken foot in a cage to mirror the dimensions of a factory-farmed chicken’s confinement, and an overhead video projection of clanging metal cages further immerses guests in this sensory journey, reinforcing the importance of adopting more sustainable practices in the food industry.
Chef Rasmus Munk envisions Alchemist as a platform for making a positive impact through gastronomy. In a blood drop-shaped ice cream served with a QR code linking to an organ donation registry, Alchemist addresses the shortage of organs for transplantation and nearly 13,000 guests have engaged with the QR code since 2020.
Serving only 10 diners at a time, Ultraviolet, led by French chef Paul Pairet, is a single-table restaurant in Shanghai, China. The avant-garde restaurant offers Western cuisine in a high-tech private dining room.
Holding three Michelin stars, the restaurant presents a 20-course menu. Each dish is carefully paired with a unique blend of audiovisual projections, lighting, and scents to match with a theme and elevate the taste experience. For instance, when the guests savour a dish like “Mushrooms”, they will find themselves immersed in the ambiance of a forest, complete with the crackling of wood in a fire, creating an illusion of freshly cooked mushrooms over a campfire.
Ultraviolet’s dining space is free of decorations, artworks, and windows. Instead, it’s equipped with multi-sensory technology, including dry scent projectors, stage and UV lighting, 360-degree wall projections, and surround sound system, all remotely controlled from a “Techno Room”. The immersive journey is designed to forge a deep connection between the guests and each course. Pairet refers to this concept as “Psycho-taste”, emphasising how our surroundings can influence our taste perception and evoke emotions.
Located on Rangali Island in the Maldives, Ithaa sits five metres below the surface of the Indian Ocean, with panoramic coral garden views all around.
Encased in clear acrylic walls with a transparent roof, Ithaa offers an underwater view of marine life and coral reefs. Its arched design is engineered to withstand the water pressure and the ocean currents.
During the day, natural sunlight filters through the ocean waters, creating a dynamic play of light and shadows. As the evening sets, a soft and artificial lighting is designed to maintain the intimate ambience. With a menu with fresh seafood, Ithaa deepens the connection with the underwater setting, allowing guests to engage all their senses.
The Murdér Express offers an immersive dining experience in 1920s East London, where passengers collaborate to solve a comedic murder mystery centred around a precious jewel while enjoying a four-course menu and handcrafted cocktails.
Upon arrival, guests are assigned to one of the train’s eight booths, each designed to accommodate eight passengers within the setting of a vintage luxury train. The experience begins the moment guests step on board, with everyone on the train becoming a potential suspect in the disappearance of the precious gem.
Guided by theatre actors, passengers actively engage in solving the mystery while enjoying a four-course meal that matches the storyline. The booth seating is complemented by large screens that create the illusion of a moving countryside outside, adding to the immersive experience.
Located inside Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza on Playa d’en Bossa, Sublimotion is one of the world’s most expensive restaurants. In company with great food and wine, the restaurant offers a multisensory, immersive VR dining experience.
Sublimation provides its guests with a multisensory adventure of food, art, and illusionism together to create a unique dining experience.
Incorporating virtual reality (VR) into the dining experience, guests are handed a Samsung Gear virtual reality headset to immerse them in a mind-blowing traveling experience of the fantasy world while having their meal.
Seated in a high-tech interactive space called “capsule,” 12 diners sit to feast on some of the best meals the culinary world has on offer prepared by some of the greatest names in the culinary world.
Engineers, architects, screenwriters, and designers have worked together to create a 3-hour immersive audio/visual experience that takes diners on a journey through different times, stages of emotion, and events.
Created by famous film directors, award-winning composers, and Spain’s brilliant illusionist working alongside, the dining experience is one to savour.
While paying for an experience at Sublimotion may seem quite pricey for some, the virtual reality dining experience is worth every penny.
The complete collection of five immersive dining experiences can be found here at The Next Archives.