[WATCH] Dinner in the Sky: taking fine dining to new heights

Enoying a meal forty metres above the ground constitutes a truly unique and unforgettable experience: MaltaToday discovers what promises to be the next fad in local dining

Chef Maria Sammut and Chef Marvin discuss details of fine dining (Photo: Chris Mangion)
Chef Maria Sammut and Chef Marvin discuss details of fine dining (Photo: Chris Mangion)
Chef Maria Sammut preparring the kitchedn (Photo: Chris Mangion)
Chef Maria Sammut preparring the kitchedn (Photo: Chris Mangion)
Dinner is served at 40 metres (Photo: Chris Mangion)
Dinner is served at 40 metres (Photo: Chris Mangion)
Fine dining in the sky (Video:Chris Mangion/Clifford Camilleri)

One of the perks of working in media is that sometimes - call it rare - we get invited to savour some of the fanciest cuisine and go through the most unique experiences imaginable. Last night was one such experience. However getting invited to a meal while being suspended 40m above the ground sounded daunting to say the least…

First came the trepidation; then came the questions: lots of them, starting from the availability of bathrooms, to the food selection, pricing, items that can be taken on board, and so much more.

We arrived at our meeting point at the Herbert Ganado gardens in Valletta to find a small introductory reception including Prosecco and lots of reassuring comments about the experience.

One of the first things that pops to mind is 'where are the bathrooms?' Put simply: you get a fair warning beforehand, and are advised to use the restrooms set up near the lounge/waiting area, but there are no restrooms on board.

However, we were reassured that if something truly urgent happened during the meal, it would take the crane just over a minute to transport patrons back on the ground.

Although there are no strict restrictions, I would also advise any ladies out there to wear trousers or shorts rather than skirts, and stick to carrying the bare essentials onto the table since there are no compartments on-board and hanging your bag on the chair is to say the least not advisable.

But don’t fret, customers are provided with lockers under the watchful eyes of the sociable hosts on the ground. Another point about clothing is the shoes... Go for shoes that can be fastened and won't slip off your feet easily. However if you do lose something during the meal, rest assured you won't be knocking any innocent by standers on the head.

There is a designated radius beneath the table to ensure that people aren't allowed beneath lest any objects - breakable or not- should fall off the table.

Clients are then called onto the table two-by-two to ensure the maximum attention and to make sure that every one is strapped in as carefully as possible…. And in a matter of moments we were off… Despite my misgivings I have to admit however, I felt pretty safe throughout the whole experience, even when we were suspended above the impressive bastions and streets below.

For those of you still wondering, the crew scuttling on-board consisted of catering staff and two safety officers watching over patrons as they enjoy their meals and making sure that the experience is indeed as safe as can be.

You’re invited to swivel around to check out the view or even to recline using a handy little lever whenever you feel like… (I only managed the former not the latter)… but be warned… it gets pretty scary the moment you look directly below you…

Check out the video of our live feed from last night:

Something has to be said for the lovely atmosphere the staff managed to create despite your worst possible bouts of vertigo. The music is fun, the entertainment keeps coming and if you’re lucky, you’ll even get to witness a few traditional festa celebrations and fireworks in a nearby village.

Finally, the menu -set before the trip itself- is an unforgettable experience in itself. Our dishes, carefully crafted by Tarragon restaurant chef Maora Sammut, consisted of black bream ceviche with pea and mint puree for a starter, pork belly with carrot, apple and cinnamon puree for a main course and a fresh dessert of almond pannacotta.

Chef and restauranteur Marvin Gauci explained that different dishes would be explored over the weeks to ensure that the experience is as enjoyable and fresh as possible. Gauci has been the brains behind an impressive list of noted and acclaimed restaurants including Tarragon and Caviar & Bull.

Before we set off, Gauci explained that he had been in talks for the project for around four years and that safety and security was the number one priority for the project. He added that although matters like insurance had presented something of a challenge, finally getting everything they needed to make the project a reality was a dream come true.

“The table will be hoisted some 40m above the ground and it will present customers with a breathtaking view of Valletta and practically the whole of Malta,” he said.

He added that the table takes 22 clients as well as catering and safety staff to make sure that the experience is as a safe and enjoyable as possible.

Gauci added that the crane would not operate in inclement weather or if wind reaches force 5. 

“We aim to keep the service running throughout the summer months,” Gauci said, adding that the company had received some 70 reservations in its first couple of days online. He also pointed out that so far the crane would be operating twice a day for dinner, but that it was also open for private functions like weddings.

He went on to invite people to reserve a place on the company website: http://dinnerintheskymalta.com/ , and added that he hoped that the experience in Malta would by far surpass that offered in the 54 other venues around the world.

So if you’ve got €135 to spare and you feel like a truly unique experience, not to mention a highly sophisticated and delicious meal… this highlight is something of a must…