You're used to engaging at least four senses when you eat—taste, smell, touch, and sight. But at Ultraviolent, a cool concept restaurant in Shanghai, chef Paul Pairet engages all five senses in high-tech extremes. In a digital dining space outfitted with video panels, surround sound, and a table that casts images and lights, 10 patrons—who will pay $1,000 a pop for the experience—can delight in a 22-course meal that teases every sense, every minute.
The experience begins on a private bus ride, but CNN, which just got inside the award-winning restaurant, is keeping mum about what happens on the ride. However once inside the intimate dining space, we know the show really begins: Video screens and the table itself light up with images, sounds—whether music or historical recordings—play on the speakers, and aromas that go beyond the course being served are emitted through the walls.
"We will send 22 courses, and each will be surrounded by an atmosphere defined through the projection, the smell—eventually, but not always—and the sound," Pairet told CNN.
During one course captured on camera, candles flickered on the screens, church bells rang, and the scent of incense and wet rock wafted into the room. At dessert—comprised of house-made gummy bears—the staff danced around the dining room as classic Nintendo tunes played and digital gummies raced along the walls.
Each serving and each scene is meticulously rehearsed by Pairet's staff, which includes not only kitchen workers and servers but producers who work in a nearby control room.
If it sounds like a wacky, pretentious experience, it might be—but it's also a widely popular one. Ultraviolent has been named one of the 50 best restaurants in Asia, and it's garnered a dedicated following willing to pay the high price for a seat. In fact, if you plan to travel to Shanghai any time soon, make your reservation now: The next available opening is May 4.