- By Sayeed Yahya
Dine at the restaurant you need a diving certificate to reach
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Pulling on their scuba gear and flippers at a swimming pool in Brussels, couples are not just going diving, they’re going out for dinner.
Lowering themselves to the floor of the pool all be it a rather deep one, purpose built to train scuba divers, they swim to the far end where their restaurant awaits, five meters below the surface.
“The Pearl” is a two-meter wide white spherical shaped pod tethered close to the pool’s floor. The diners jettison their weighted belts before swimming underneath and up into the pod which acts as a trapped air pocket, meaning the restaurant remains dry and breathable whilst having an open water entrance 5 metres below the surface.
All you need to dine here is $105 USD and a diving certificate
Dinner is served by expert scuba divers who deliver foie gras, lobster salad and champagne in waterproof cases before leaving the diners peering out of the portholes, enjoying the strange tranquillity of eating in an air pocket, completely submerged.
“We are launching a new era of restaurants.” said John Beernaerts, who founded the NEMO33 pool in the Belgian capital a decade ago.
The restaurant, where an underwater meal costs 99 euros / $105 USD / 41 OR per person, took more than a year to build and multiple attempts were needed to perfect the design, mechanics and food delivery system.
“It was a wonderful experience,” said Mouchart, 41, his hair still wet after the return swim through the warm 33 degrees Celsius water to the pool side.
“It was the first time in our life that we ate underwater, which was really fun. It’s a unique dinner and we will remember this all our life.”
The restaurant differs from the world famous Underwater Restaurant in Dubai, UAE, pictured below, in that you have to scuba dive in order to enter the Belgium restaurant. Rather than being a self contained large unit with a regulated oxygen supply simply submerged, not that there is anything simple about that, the Belgium restaurant blurs the line further between restaurant and water. Yes the restaurant in Dubai is surrounded by beautiful sea life but you don’t have the intimate small space for two and the need to get wet to eat there.
Both restaurants will clearly attract a different type of clientele, both for beautiful reasons however. The love of nature and the excitement of pushing the boundaries of what is humanly possible. Our planet is certainly a water world, the surface area covered by water and the abundance of life that lives in it, far out numbers that of the land world. The human desire to conquer water is centuries if not millennia old, restaurants like these give us the ability to connect with nature and an alien world just that little bit closer.
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