BRUSSELS - A recently-opened restaurant in Brussels offers a new experience to adventurous foodies, five meters below the surface of a swimming pool. The restaurant, called 'The Pearl', is installed at the bottom of one of the world's deepest indoor swimming and diving pools and opened at the end of 2016.
For 99 euros per person, customers get a full meal complete with lobster salad, foie gras and champagne. Diners dive into the deep pool, filled with water kept at 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) to get to their meal in a spherical underwater cabin.
"I created this swimming pool 12 years ago as I have been a diving enthusiast since I was a teenager. I wanted to make it possible for anybody to learn how to dive in ideal conditions, it's the case here. And this latest thing there, the sphere, it's a bit like going back to a fetal state, like in a cocoon. And you can talk, discuss, exchange - but all of this in a muffled atmosphere that sort of looks like our very early days," the creator of the restaurant, John Beernaerts, said.
The two-meter wide sphere looks like a golf ball with windows and can fit up to four people. The restaurant took more than a year to build and multiple attempts to get the design, mechanics and its method of food delivery perfected.
Divers who work at the NEMO33 diving center also serve as the waiters, and they bring the meal packed in a waterproof briefcase. Inside 'The Pearl' it's dry and supplied with oxygen by NEMO33. "I think what's extraordinary is the fact of being underwater. The two of us are like a fish couple, we love being in the water. I think that what's really cool is the fact that it is unique. It's a dinner we will remember for all our life," customer Nicolas Mouchart said.
Customers who have never dived before can take an introductory lesson before their meal. Sixteen people have eaten at the restaurant since it opened.