We spun around in our seats like children for a virtual adventure after eating an inventive meal from 2050 with our Samsung goggles. We sipped on white peach martinis and searched for the magic mushroom soup in a garden of waterfalls.
Halfway through, our hostess re-emerged to ask about the golden ticket. I was so immersed, I had forgotten.
“What do you miss from your childhood?” she asked.
With a little help from my friends, we shouted out halcyon feelings from our collective days of youth and, poof! A circus appeared before our eyes. They rolled out Ferris wheels filled with classic treats, handed us balloons toting mini-sandwiches, and constructed a make-your-own dessert bar with cake pops, cotton candy, and popcorn in unrecognisable forms.
After a healthy glass of Rioja wine to cleanse our palettes, we then found ourselves back on the Ibiza beaches for a vibrant dance party. Wearing peace-sign glasses as our waitresses danced a choreographed number, we dined on a surf and turf of BBQ steak, shrimp, scallop, and a side of molecularly changed corn.
“I hear there are two courses of dessert,” my neighbour Daniella whispered. I was stuffed, but determined to make room.
The first savory number was a gastronomic presentation of art. Our servers painted our placemats with scoops of lemon merengue ice cream and sprinkles of coconut flakes from an easel of ingredients. After placing chocolate lips in the centre, the lights above revealed their edible masterpiece: Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.”
Then came the finale. Our table transformed into personal spinning stations and we were the DJs. The music pumped loudly and our desserts levitated as chocolate cakes spun ’round and ’round the neon turntables.
In the party capital of the world, falling into a food coma after dinner is forbidden. Maybe it was the thoughtful ordering of the courses, or the lightness of the fresh ingredients. Perhaps it was my surroundings and the awesome people who joined me on this journey. It certainly could have been the spirited staff as they paraded around us with glow lights, ending our night with a private techno dance party.
It’s too hard to pinpoint the culprit. All I know for sure is that after a three-hour, seated meal and too many drinks to count, I walked out of Sublimotion feeling energised, very alive, and ready to party well into the Ibiza night. And that’s exactly what we did.
Later, I spoke with Chef Paco Roncero himself to answer a few of my still-burning questions. Like, how he came up with the idea, and what goes into pulling off this kind of meal, night after night?
“There are probably 100 people involved in the creative and production process,” he says about the gastro-show, which changes its menu each season. “Our main space” — or “capsule,” as he calls it — “contains more technological infrastructure than many large-scale music venues.”
Roncero says he came up with the idea while leading a culinary workshop at the Casino de Madrid in 2012. “I recognised that diners were becoming more interested in gastronomy and how it connects all five senses,” he says. Two years later, he brought Sublimotion to the most ideal locale for such a concept and now, his two seatings per night are nearly sold out from June through September.
“We don’t see ourselves as a restaurant,” he says when I mention the lofty “world’s most expensive restaurant” title that seems to have attached itself to Sublimotion. “We play with emotions, the senses, the set, the aromas, and the taste to be able to create absolutely unique experiences with each scene.”
So how does he describe the experience when people ask him what to expect? “Something you will only understand if you experience it first-hand.”
Now do you believe me?