If you’ve ever been in a pool with a swim-up bar and wondered, “Hmm, I’d love a slice of pizza right about now,” your dreams are about to come true. OK, not really, since getting grease or marinara sauce in a public pool isn’t exactly sanitary but, hey, this is as close as you’re going to get.
Step into the next gimmicky restaurant at NEMO33. Or should we say swim? The Pearl is a new restaurant in Belgium that sits five metres below the surface of one of the world’s deepest pools.
All you have to do — after making your reservation, obviously — is swim down (wearing weighted belts to get you, and keep you, down there), enter a cozy little pod, and be prepared for some fine dining. Oh, and of course your servers are wearing full scuba suits. That’s part of the ambiance!
How are the diners eating underwater (especially without having their food floating all around them), you ask? Well, there’s no actual water in the spherical chamber. It’s pressurized, so when the swimmers dive into the pool to get to their table, they have to swim underneath, then up into the pod. As do the servers, who bring the food and beverages (like lobster salad, foie gras and champagne) in waterproof cases.
“We are launching a new era of restaurants,” said John Beernaerts, who founded the NEMO33 centre a decade ago for the purpose of training scuba divers. “It’s a bit like going back to a foetal state, like in a cocoon …. You can talk, discuss, exchange – but all of this in a muffled atmosphere that sort of looks like our very early days.”
Between eating in the dark and restaurants that serve food in toilet bowls, this is just another drop in the pool.
The Pearl, which just opened, is charging 99 euros ($139 CAD) for the experience. Just be sure to wait a half hour after eating before you resurface.