August 17, 2020
In Asia, themed restaurants and bars are nothing new. You can find them in any major and medium cities from Tokyo, to Shanghai or to Bangkok. The idea behind immersive dining is to give customers a unique experience while enjoying food and drinks. It can take several shapes and over the years has started to include technology to bring experiences to another level.
Japan is probably THE place for themed restaurants. You can find cute, bizarre, sometimes disturbing places to eat. For instance, you can enjoy diner in a prison themed restaurant like Lock up, have dessert at Alice where characters from Lewis Carroll’s novel will come say hi, sit behind a velvet curtain at Vampire Café, or even fish your own dinner at Zauo.
Themed restaurant offer a first level immersive experience. The decor is unique, usually the menu is adapted to the theme (either offering special dishes or food shaped in a particular way). The experience here is mainly visual and gustative, and involves very little activities other than dining.
A new type of immersive dining takes themed restaurant to the next level. While these places are still visually distinctives from a classic restaurant, with a decor and special menu, they offer also entertainment. And so forth in Singapore is a pop up restaurant specializing in fusing art & dining in non-linear experiences offering new concepts with a surprise menu and mystery location every few months. Ultraviolet in Shanghai offers an immersive experience for 20 guests placed at the same table. Each course is accompanied by sounds, scents and projections using high-tech to make the experience unique.
Wether it is classic themed restaurants or immersive dining concepts, all are very popular and reservations are almost always necessary. This interest shows how much people are loving experiences and how simple activities like dining can be turned into unique, one of kind experiments.
If VR is most of the time associated with video gaming, a new use of it is made in the performing art world. Creative Studios are now offering experiences combining theater and virtual reality. They adapt the use of VR headsets to immersive experiences with real life actors.