Going out to a restaurant for the purpose of enjoying a meal is a fairly standard social practice. But, in today’s world, this can also be a vastly diverse experience. The choice of foods is seemingly endless; one can have wontons on a Monday or curry on Tuesday – so it goes. Indeed, it could be said the world of dining is a connoisseur’s collective oyster!
The novelty of having all types of our favorite cuisine readily available at all times is wearing off, creating fierce competition between chefs and restaurateurs who are eager to promote the culinary market’s next “big thing.” As a result, our dining experiences now range from the spectacular to the utterly bizarre.
As consumers demand increasingly exhilarating dinning experiences – driven, in part, by the desire to snap some awe-inducing pictures – it’s not surprising that restaurateurs are trying to supply them. Here are a couple of honorable mentions from across the world that are sure to stimulate even the most exotic of palates.
Most people are accustomed to getting what they paid for, but this notion is not compatible with the core philosophy of Ziferblat. The eatery began as a venue for aspiring poets who were looking for a place that would serve as a “sort of treehouse for adults.” What makes it unique is the fact that visitors pay for their time, and not the goodies they receive while being there. That’s why the venue’s mantra is: “Everything is free inside; except for the time you spend.”
At first, Ziferblat was supported entirely by volunteers. As its popularity grew, a pay-as-you-go format was introduced. This is still practiced today; visitors pay a flat rate of 8p per minute. After four hours, you can hang for free. Everything else though – from the wi-fi to the board games to the cake – is free!
In order to generate an informal and open atmosphere, guests are treated as friends. Aiming to promote inclusivity, creativity, and healthy human interaction, the eatery enforces only one, cardinal rule: everyone must behave in a mutually respectful manner.
This relatively simplistic hideaway welcomes all sorts of artistic endeavors, from performance art to gallery exhibits. “Today, Ziferblat has grown to over 14 venues around the world. Acting as a cultural centre, an entertainment venue, a co-working area and a social space, Ziferblat has broadened its horizons. There are no restrictions here other than all must respect the space and others in it.”
Dans Le Noir?
Dans Le Noir? proclaims to offer a “unique human experience,” and has a truly unusual concept: hire visually impaired staff and serve patrons in the dark. The goal is to offer a new perspective on what it’s like to live with a disability, while fulfilling the public demand for novelty.
“Dining in pitch darkness, being hosted and served by a visually impaired waiter will change your perspective of the world by inverting your point of view. It is an experience that awakens your senses and enables you to completely re-evaluate your perception of taste and smell.”
House chef Rafal Zaremba lovingly prepares the rotational menu, and the guests are encouraged to try one of the establishment’s four surprise menus. The White Menu, for example, includes a combination of fish, chicken and exotic meats. And even though patrons won’t see the color of the actual meal, simply trying to get through it will heighten their senses.
In addition to the main eatery, guests can enjoy a drink at the silent bar. Special guides present the basic principles of sign language, so drinks can be ordered accordingly. Meanwhile, provided headphones pump a specially selected playlist into the auricles! Because of the restaurant’s success, a series of sister outlets have opened in Paris, Madrid, and a whole host of other cities – worldwide.
Dinner in the Sky
If you are someone who is afraid of heights, this is NOT for you. Dinner in the Sky is a pulse rising and palate exciting experience consisting of a savory meal prepared by a highly skilled chef, that you’ll eat at a dinner table suspended some 50 meters above ground by a really, really sturdy crane.
The “event” – since it’s not a restaurant per se – first took place in Belgium back in 2006, when “Hakuna Matata, a communications agency specialized in gourmet pleasures, and The Fun Group, a company specialized in amusement park installations deploying cranes, joined forces.” Each event can be something specific, such as a wedding, a meet-up, a business meeting, or just a bunch of people eating and sharing their love of gourmet adventures.
Since 2006, over 5,000 events took place in cities around the world and featured celebrated chefs such as Pierre Gagnaire, Marc Veyrat, Anton Mosimann, Dani Garcia, Paco Roncero, and Alain Passard. The culinary arts fused with aesthetic design and technological knowhow resulted in this amazing concept, and it’s a work of art in absolutely ever sense of the word.
Note* Photos were sourced from the respective company websites under which they are featured.