The Lowdown: Stratospheric dining

By Restaurant

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Image: Space Perspective
Image: Space Perspective

Related tags Rasmus Munk Alchemist space Restaurant

Next year’s hottest restaurant table is quite literally out of this world.

What’s stratospheric dining then?
As the name suggests, it a high altitude restaurant experience that enables guests to dine with a view.

Ah yes, I’ve seen people sat at tables hanging from cranes before. Is it a bit like that?
In a word, no. You’re right, experiences like London in the Sky have seen guests dine at heights of up to 100 feet, but this is altogether different. Stratospheric dining sees diners climb around 100,000 feet above sea level - which is around three times the height a passenger jet flies - in a capsule suspended below a balloon that sits above 99% of the earth’s atmosphere.

OK, that is different. Tell me more.
The experience is being created by luxury space travel group SpaceVIP, which is using spaceship maker Space Perspective’s Spaceship Neptune craft for the journey. Six lucky (and rich) diners will get to go on a six-hour flight taking off in Neptune from Florida next year for the - literally astronomical - price of £500,000 per person.

That's steep. But a meal while flying in space sounds pretty cool.
It’s more floating than flying. Here’s the science bit: Spaceship Neptune is a balloon filled with a low-density gas such as hydrogen or helium and its resulting buoyancy causes it to rise up through the atmosphere, because the balloon is lighter than the volume of air it displaces. As it rises, the surrounding air gets increasingly thinner until the balloon is eventually confronted by Archimedes’ Principle, which halts the ascent when the ambient density is the same as its own. For a balloon like Spaceship Neptune, this will happen around an altitude of around 100,000 feet. Also, rather than blasting off, the balloon will rise slowly at 12mph, meaning the journey might even be suitable for people who suffer from travel sickness.

That’s me told. What about the food?
SpaceVIP has teamed up with Rasmus Munk, he from Copenhagen-based immersive restaurant Alchemist, who will be charged with creating a menu that is out of this world. Details of what that might be are yet to be revealed but it is understood that Munk will include dishes inspired by 60 years of human space exploration, and reflecting the impact this has had on society ‘both scientifically and philosophically’.

No Mars bars then?
Space-themed confectionery including Milky Way, Starburst, and Galaxy are unlikely to feature on the menu but wine will, according to the restaurant. On board space will be at a premium (literally) but Munk will have a small flame-free kitchen in which to prepare dishes, although some will no doubt be prepped on terra firma before lift off.

I’ve seen astronauts trying to eat in space and it doesn’t look easy...
The cabin will be pressurised so that diners can have a ‘normal’ dining experience rather than having to chase food as it floats in front of them. There will even be Wi-Fi so that they can live stream the meal to people back on earth.

Buzz Aldrin would be proud. How does one dress for such occasion?
Good question. It’s more space suit than lounge suit but even that’s covered for the guests. French fashion house Ogier has been charged with kitting out each diner with made-to-measure outfits that are said to use cutting-edge fabric made specifically for the mission.

Where do I sign up?
You might already be too late. In an interview with Forbes, SpaceVIP founder Roman Chiporukha said the company already had dozens of qualified participants express interest and that he expected all six seats to soon be taken.

So no space meal for me then?
A trip to CosMc’s​ is probably about as close as most of us will get, alas.

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