Dining al fresco in the Netherlands — but be warned: it is dinner at height
Food & Drink

Dining al fresco in the Netherlands — but be warned: it is dinner at height

There’s a very fine restaurant in the Netherlands that no matter matter how far ahead you book it’s standing room only Yes, that’s right, a top class restaurant where you can only stand.

Let me paint the picture a little more clearly. This is dining in a hot air balloon, courtesy of CuliAir ,and is the brainwave of Dutch master chef Angélique Schmeinck.

In her balloon high over the Netherlands, she prepares haute cuisine — using the hot air of the balloon itself to cook the food. The balloon’s interior lining is covered with temperature sensors they can be monitored from the kitchen during the flight. Angélique assesses precisely whether the dishes need to be lowered or raised slightly above the heat source in order to achieve perfect cooking.

Dishes include the likes of wild sea bass with green asparagus, cream of carrot with clams, fennel, and tarragon, saffron sauce with cardamom or Country guinea-fowl prepared with Vadouvan spices, summer harvest mushrooms, white asparagus, watercress mayonnaise, and pistachio.

The entire experience of culinary ballooning, from the welcome in the meadow at the take-off site, to the flight best enjoyed with a champagne glass in hand and a festive dessert awaiting at the landing site, to the dinner on board; it all takes between four and five hours – the flight itself takes about an hour and a half.

CuliAir uses different take-off locations to accommodate the wide range of flying conditions — you’re texted in advance of when and where to get to.

The restaurant-balloon has fifty launches a year, so places are limited. The cost is €435 per person.