Review: Sublimotion Dubai
Is this immersive experience worth the hefty price tag?
Sublimotion Dubai returned for its second season in November, promising even more culinary theatrics than before. The hyper-exclusive immersive dinner experience dropped jaws with its Dhs5,000 a head price tag, causing everyone to ask: is it worth it? The new season brings a new menu, refreshed entertainment and the introduction of a slightly less eye-watering package of Dhs3,500 for those who don’t wish to drink alcohol.
Found in the ultra-luxe Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Sublimotion has its own entrance, guided through a LED tunnel. The experience begins in a mini library, with hotel keys hanging behind the bar. Instead of being asked which welcome drink we would like, fate decides for us as we choose a playing card from the pack. “You were born to be a player. This moment is yours. Destiny,” it reads, and the bartender begins shaking up a long, amber-toned cocktail.
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Canapes are served in the library, by men in workman-style jumpsuits and black latex gloves. The first, a star-shaped wafer topped with smoked salmon and salmon roe, had the right texture balance of crunchy to soft, but an incredibly strong fishy flavour which felt like an intense way to kick off the ten-course meal.
We’re ushered into the main room and take our seats based on the name projected onto the table. We’re sat in white wheely chairs around a large board-room style table, with a mirrored wall on each end of the room, and full projection on the remaining two walls.
Proceedings begin with rosé Champagne, which is delivered via a suspended diamond-shaped bucket gently lowered to the table. A spiral projection on the table indicates where the glass should be placed, and the team of waiters pour each one in synchronicity. Synchronised serving is just one of the details focused on by staff, we notice, who play an integral part in making sure the night runs according to a carefully devised schedule.
The courses that follow grow in creativity when it comes to both presentation and delivery, however some of the tastes and textures we found to be a little too ‘creative’ for our liking.
When it comes to the entertainment, however, the more unusual, the better. One moment we’re gliding through waterfalls and mountainscapes via a VR headset, the next we’re being pulled across the room on our wheely chair to a Dutch-inspired picnic.
If we were to pick a favourite course it would be the aeroplane meal, which we were served after watching the waitress’ rendition of Britney Spears’ Toxic music video. From the trolley, we’re presented with a plastic tray housing plates of artistically presented sea bass fillet, mash potato covered in edible gold leaf, and snow peas in a pumpkin marinade. Under each tray was a plane ticket, each to a different destination. Our compere for the evening instructs us to place our ticket in a glass box, and one will be picked at random to decide where we will journey to next. Sao Paulo is selected and we’re suddenly whisked into a world of green and yellow projections, feathered samba dancers and small shacks serving snacks and caipirinhas served in coconut.
The full experience lasts around two-and-a-half hours, which works out at about Dhs33 per minute. Is the dinner worth the price tag? That really depends on your perspective, but if you’re tired of Dubai’s usual restaurant offering, Sublimotion will certainly be an extraordinary alternative.
What’s On Verdict: An out of the ordinary dinner that is sure to be unlike any you’ve experienced before.
Sublimotion, Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, daily, 6.30pm or 9.30pm, Dhs3,500 soft drinks, Dhs5,000 Champagne. Tel: (0)4 777 2250. @sublimotiondubai