Play a game to access your food at this Ibiza restaurant

Picture this: You’re seated at one of the most upscale restaurants in the world, set to savour some fine flavours and textures. Just then you’re handed VR headsets and asked to use your virtual hands to pick up your first course that is geolocated in the virtual environment. Sounds surreal? That’s exactly what Sublimotion, the world’s most expensive restaurant located in Ibiza, is aiming for.

Helmed by chef Paco Roncero and founded by Eduardo Gonzales, the restaurant, where a meal typically costs about $3,000, has introduced Mixed Reality to further up the ante when it comes to marrying food and technology.

“The idea is to create a completely virtual environment, within which one can taste real food,” says Eduardo, adding, “The sensation is shocking, because it is the first time one can do a completely real act, such as dining, inside a video game.”

The restaurant was popular for its extensive use of technology to elevate the dining experience: they had everything from 360-degree projections to digital tables that could turn into a diner’s individual spin table. To give the impression of dining inside a video game, they’ve used, according to Eduardo, “a mix of HTC virtual glasses with an integrated motion sensor, such as leap motion and an HP+ Backpack by commensal computer.”

“Our engineers developed software to make it a multi-player experience, so it is a group experience. One can see the remaining guests as an avatar of themselves,” he explains.

Play a game to access your food at this Ibiza restaurant

Describing Sublimotion as a culinary performance of approximately two hours and 45 minutes, Eduardo says the room has a single table for 12 people who travel through space and time (yes, you read that correctly) to live a rather futuristic experience. “It’s hard to describe it. One has to experience it,” he says. A typical meal is 12 courses long and the environment and experience changes with each set. “Chef Paco has invited some of the best cooks in the world to collaborate in the creation of the menu for 2019. They include Ana Roš, Elena Arzak, Pia Leon and the pastry chef Janice Wong.”

Sublimotion is the perfect example of how the very vernacular around dining has evolved due to technology. A dinner at a restaurant such as Sublimotion is not just about the food, but the entire experience where you feel either like you are a part of an activity (thanks to the projections), or dining inside a video game. Quite like the Jetsons.

“For us, the evolution of this new format is continuous. The team of Sublimotion is formed by chefs, but also by people of different professions, such as designers, engineers, composers, illusionists, filmmakers, screenwriters and artistes. This large team always seeks to surprise our guests,” explains Eduardo. He adds, “One of the goals we want to achieve is the ability to eat at the same table, even if you are not in the same physical place. That is, to be able to gather three friends from London to eat, with three friends from Mumbai in a unique virtual table.”

Talking about how Paco and he decided to set up Sublimotion, Eduardo says that it stemmed from Paco’s love for technology. “We met at a musical event where he catered the food and we managed the show. That was the beginning of our friendship. Paco invited us to his workshop in Madrid, where he had already experimented with screenings. From there, we put together both experiences to create the first gastronomic show in the world. At Sublimotion, we have a technical ceiling that could be in any concert of a rock star, a table designed and created to thrill, with internal mechanisms that make the food float.”

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2020 5:07:49 AM |

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