What it's like to dine 150 feet in the sky
I was never afraid of heights – there are more pressing issues that I would actually fear.
Even as a kid, I would bravely ride twirling and looping roller coasters that would require one to have a strong stomach and heart. So when I was invited by fashion editor Liza Ilarde to join her for Dinner in the Sky, I was quite ecstatic. I’ve seen the social media posts of some friends and it got me all fascinated and curious.
Since its debut in May 2006, "Dinner in the Sky" has hosted more than 5,000 events in 45 different cities all over the world. Originating from Belgium, this one of a kind affair uses a gigantic crane to hoist a huge table where diners, chefs, and wait staff are brought up to 150 feet above the ground.
While high up in the sky, marveling at a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding sceneries, guests dine on exquisite dishes concocted by top-notch chefs.
To ensure safety at all times, all concepts are designed according to German norm DIN 4112, with all calculations and simulations tested by TÜV Rhineland, a global provider of technical, safety, and certification services.
Locally, this dining spectacle is organized by MMI Live, and co-organized by DITS Asia. Hosted at the Solaire Resort and Casino grounds, some of the dinners were prepared by three of the hotel’s chefs.
Depending on the schedule, the stunning view of the Manila Bay sunset or the evening cityscape of Manila becomes the backdrop of this unique event.
I arrived early to register for the 5:30pm dinner. While waiting to board, we were advised that there would be a delay due to strong winds by the bay. Nature was beyond our control and the organizers had to ensure that the conditions were favorable and stable before bringing the group up.
When we were given the go signal, we had a short walk from the VIP lounge of the hotel to the Esplanade grounds. While walking, my excitement further grew after seeing the giant crane.
Before being hoisted up, each guest was designated a locker to keep personal belongings. The key to the locker was given to each guest to make sure that only the guest can open the locker. There are only 22 seats at the table. When I found my seat, layers and layers of seatbelts were fastened on me. It does restrict movement but safety is the utmost concern.
The entire time, my biggest fear was a bird flying straight to me – like what people see in movies. Thankfully, nothing of that sort happened. Our group was only allowed to go up to around 90 – 100 feet above due to the strong winds that day. We had the façade of the city on one side and the stunning sunset at the Manila Bay on the other. It was wonderful. The initial downside was that I couldn’t take a decent photo of myself since my hair was being blown in all directions. Eventually, I found an angle that worked with and not against the winds.
Luck was on our side with the food. It was the first time that Michelin-star Chef Yves Mattagne of Sea Grill in Belgium was in town. The molecular gastronomy was scrumptious.
The dinner began with the foamy espuma with dauricus caviar and creamy egg. My personal favorite was the red tuna and baked goose liver.
As shared by the chef, the pink chocolate on top of the tuna had only been in the European market for only two months. It was harmonious between the salty flavors of the foie gras and tuna, paired with the sweet chocolate topping.
Since it was Chef Yves Mattagne’s first dinner in Manila, the guests were fortunate to sample the two main courses that he will be offering. The shrimp was set on coconut bouillon, served with red curry formed into a soft yellow ball, pointed cabbage and lychee.
The sea bass was a delight! The buttery and frothy sauce complemented the mild texture of the fish. The fresh oyster makis were an interesting garnish to the dish.
For dessert, the creamy taïnori chocolate had a rich dark flavor that was enhanced by the coffee granita and chantilly vanilla tahiti.
After the main course was served, the organizers decided to bring the table back to the ground. Lightning was spotted in the area. I don’t think any of us wanted to know how it feels like to be a lightning rod or electric conductor so it was a good call. I was able to take a video in the evening and I saw flashes of lightning not too far from where we were hanging.
We eventually had to take our dessert on the ground. I was more disappointed than scared that the experience was cut short due to unforeseen events. At least the organizers immediately knew what they had to do.
If you wish to try this experience, here's my advice:
Dress comfortably. Winds can get pretty strong so don’t even bother setting your hair. It’s better for ladies to tie their hair and wear comfortable pants. Wear light clothes since the weather is just slightly cooler or almost the same as the ground.
Protect yourself. For those taking the 5:30pm dinner, put on sunblock or moisturizer to protect your face. You can bring your phone to take photos but please mind your phone since it may accidentally fall from the table – which already happened at one of the dinners. You can keep taking selfies but the staffs are very attentive and will offer to take your photo.
Do I recommend it? Yes. If you’re adventurous, try it. It's a rare dining opportunity and the food truly is amazing. – Rappler.com
Dinner in the Sky operates daily until May 21, 2018 at the Esplanade of Solaire Resort and Casino. Packaged from PHP 9,990.00, the dinner includes a four-course exclusive dinner. Dinner schedules are either at 5:30pm or 7:00pm. For more information and to purchase a seat, visit www.dinnerinthesky.ph.