Theme restaurants are nothing new. There was the highly-touted Fashion Cafe, which allowed diners to sip cocktails next to Elle McPherson's autographed photos; Ninja New York, complete with chefs wielding weaponry from feudal Japan; and the lamentable Hulk Hogan’s Pastamania, a self-explanatory failure.
The latest novelty eatery to experience a surge of attention is actually tucked inside an existing gimmick: In the Hard Rock Hotel of Ibiza, Spain, is an invitation-only room dubbed Sublimotion. And at more than $2000 per person—not including gratuities—it might be the world’s most expensive dining experience.
Unlike some other theme outlets, Sublimotion begins with substance behind its menu. Michelin star-winning chef Paco Roncero is in charge of the food and the 25-person staff, some of whom are devoted to the culinary experience while others supervise the sensory experience.
The addition of technology is what sets Sublimotion apart. Projected images appear on walls and even on top of the single, 12-seat serving table. Virtual reality menus allow visitors to pluck vegetables and desserts from thin air; treats appear to be air-dropped from the ceiling. For the current "season" of gastronomic fanfare, the restaurant has planned for diners to experience a virtual callback to a 20th-century cabaret or sample the tasting menu while "flying" in a plane [PDF]. Previous programs have included edible admission tickets and levitating desserts. (The business has a consulting magician on hand.)
The provided VR headsets can also provide real-time nutritional data about food, although anyone spending thousands of dollars for a night out should probably leave the calorie counting at home.