No, it wasn’t terrifying. No, the dining station didn’t sway. No, there’s no glass shell nor safety bar between you and the space around you. And yes, the food was good. I’ve repeated those statements countless times since my Dinner in the Sky flight landed on Sukhumvit Road.
My subject of review was a pop-up restaurant basically consisting a rectangular table and 22 chairs that encircle a chef’s platform underneath a glass roof. Yet, instead of operating on solid ground, the whole structure is suspended by slings from a crane that lifts it 50 metres above the Earth’s surface, allowing guests the freedom of eating in the air. While a great number of onlookers wonder whether the height (equivalent to a 12-floor building) affects your taste buds, others prefer to leave it as an extravagance
reserved only for the super audacious, rich and perhaps stupid. Putting all the criticisms aside, I, as an invited food writer to observe it first-hand, found Dinner in the Sky nothing but a fun and price-worthy dining experience.
The concept was developed in Belgium 10 years ago and has operated in 45 countries, including Denmark, France, Finland, Japan, Malaysia, Portugal, Sweden, Taiwan, the Netherlands and the US. This inaugural pop-up in Thailand was launched in Bangkok and will run daily until February 28th with a total of 2,500 seats available during the seven-week operation, two thirds have already been booked. Culinary-wise, Dinner in the Sky offers a 4-course fine-dining meal prepared by executive chef Gaetano Palumbo from Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, the project’s official partner. Guests get to choose their choice of beef, chicken, seafood, lamb or vegetarian prior to the flight.
My 21 dining companions and I were gleefully attended to by chef Palumbo and his two kitchen crew members. And just like at an upscale restaurant, each dish was presented proudly with a brief explanation of the produce and preparation, while our drink glasses were always kept full. Safety-wise, the whole system was designed and produced in Belgium according to strict German specifications and has surpassed world-leading TUVaccredited standards. So far, it enjoys a zero accident record. The 200 ton telescopic crane used in suspending the restaurant in the air was also imported from Europe and is regularly inspected and tested by professionals. It operated so smoothly that without looking away from my food I didn’t know I was moving.
The dining platform also spins slowly so that diners can enjoy different vistas. During the flight, guests are securely strapped to the bucket-seat chairs by a multi-point safety harness. The chairs can, however, lean forwards and backwards, as well as making a 180 degree turn. That added a lot more comfort and a pleasant thrill to the experience. Helping to ensure our safety were two uncompromising security technicians at each end of the table. Though looking tough and determined, they were helpful and friendly. Reservations are made only online at dinnerinthesky.co.th. Editor’s Note: I did wonder whether the Holiday Inn Van Nava had considered a similar idea for a dinner experience on the Sky Deck, a unique glass floor that sees right through to ground level from the dizzy heights of the 27th floor. I’ve yet to take a step onto that glass platform but I’m guessing the experience will elicit some interesting reactions from anyone with a fear of heights. ‘Sky Dining’ is a question for me to ask the management on my next visit!