The lines between reality and fantasy are becoming increasingly blurred. In medicine, augmented and virtual reality experiences are being explored as ways to improve surgical techniques. Likewise, autonomous transportation uses similar technology to promote safety and functionality. But few would have guessed that similar experiments would involve the way we dine. Yet, based on some new restaurant concepts, the virtual reality experience is becoming increasingly popular. Get ready for digital food!
Combining dining with art and technology is not a new restaurant concept. In fact, food creations have embraced artistic expressions in presentation and display for centuries. Similarly, cooking techniques that leverage scientific and technological discoveries to enhance taste and flavor are quite routine. But donning on a pair of VR goggles to alter the entire dining experience is new. And it may well be a restaurant concept that defines the future of dining.
A Virtual Reality Experience Where Food Meets Art
In New York City, the famed James Beard House in West Village is the temporary home of a virtual reality experience. For a period of time, this historic site will play host to Aerobanquets RMX, an intriguing restaurant concept. Italian artist Mattia Casalegro collaborated with Restauranteur Roni Mazumdar and Chef Chintan Pandya in a unique dining experience. The meal consists of 7 single-bite creations designed to excite the taste buds. But at the same time, clients enjoy these delicious creations while immersed in a virtual reality experience.
Guests are seated in swiveling chairs with VR goggles in place. And they receive specific instructions on how to eat the morsels presented. But in the process, VR illusions contribute to the virtual reality experience of dining. Floating plates, mushroom forests, and foods that morph into orbs or urchins are among some of the phenomena diners can enjoy. Other experiences include the illusion of being submerged in water and frequent auditory suggestions and comments that guide perception. While the food is exquisite, the virtual reality experience is even more so. And without the aid of normal sight to direct taste perceptions, one’s dining is certain to be novel in character.
A Restaurant Concept That Is Catching Fire
Combining art with a dining experience as a restaurant concept is something several renowned restaurants has embraced. Artistic creations that fuse one cuisine with another is quite common today. Likewise, the use of molecular gastronomy and eclectic presentations is similarly something that is no longer unusual. But some dining experiences now expand these approaches with more interesting restaurant concepts. For example, the use of AR apps on smartphones are now used in London’s City Social bar to enhance cocktail experiences. And dark dining rooms where servers only use night vision goggles handle the food has been around for years.
Understanding this, it is quite possible that dining that involves a virtual reality experience may also become more common. Tokyo’s Tree by Naked restaurant already combines a virtual reality experience with some of its meals. Also, Ibiza’s Sublimotion restaurant also uses virtual reality as part of its dining atmosphere. As VR and AR technologies become used every day, it makes sense that they may evolve as a restaurant concept. If this occurs, then the capacity for all types of dining experiences to expand is tremendous.
A Virtual Reality Experience that Expands, Not Distracts
Initially, virtual reality experiences like Aerobanquets RMX may appear more of an art exhibit than a culinary indulgence. And indeed, a major goal of this restaurant concept was to explore the artistic aspect of food and taste. But in doing so, the intention was not to entertain guests by using virtual or augmented reality technologies. Instead, the purpose was to allow the dining experience to evolve into new dimensions. Adding virtual reality to the dining experience invites guests to explore new ways of tasting, smelling and perceiving foods.
With this in mind, a restaurant concept that expands the dining experience rather than distracts from it is always a welcoming experience. That is precisely what these types of virtual reality experiences offer when it comes to Aerobanquets RMX and others. This is the restaurant concept that has the greatest potential when trying to predict future dining trends. Of course, these pursuits are not without costs, which makes virtual reality experiences in dining all the riskier. But for restaurants that pursue these integrated and immersive experiences in dining well, the opportunity for success is great.