Let's go up for dinner

Up to 22 guests can sit around a table hoisted 40 to 45m up in the air in a carpark overlooking Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya.
Up to 22 guests can sit around a table hoisted 40 to 45m up in the air in a carpark overlooking Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya. PHOTOS: 2SPICY ENTERTAINMENT
Up to 22 guests can sit around a table hoisted 40 to 45m up in the air in a carpark overlooking Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya.
Up to 22 guests can sit around a table hoisted 40 to 45m up in the air in a carpark overlooking Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya. PHOTOS: 2SPICY ENTERTAINMENT

Strap in, lift off and tuck into a four-course meal sitting at a table suspended 45m above the ground in Johor Baru

Daredevils hungry for a new thrill should head across the Causeway for Dinner In The Sky Malaysia in Johor Baru.

Located in a carpark with aerial views of Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya, the event seats 22 guests at a table hoisted 40 to 45m above the ground by a 180-tonne crane.

Guests are securely belted up in chairs that look like those found on roller-coasters.

Three chefs who are strapped into harnesses work in the middle of the table. They plate and serve pre-cooked dishes during the hour- long four-course meal, prepared by Tosca Trattoria Italiana of DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Bahru.

Two safety officers are also on board to monitor wind conditions and give instructions to the ground crew to move the crane periodically, so that all guests can enjoy views of Puteri Harbour.

The menu includes green pea and basil soup with truffle cream, and braised wagyu beef cheek with gaufrette potato and baby spinach.

  • BOOK IT / DINNER IN THE SKY MALAYSIA

  • WHERE: Puteri Harbour, Nusajaya, Johor Baru

    WHEN: Till June 19

    ADMISSION: RM599 (S$203), Monday to Thursday; RM699, Friday to Sunday

    INFO: dinnerinthesky.my

Dinner In The Sky Malaysia runs till June 19, with up to four one-hour dinner seatings daily. A seat costs RM599 (S$203) from Monday to Thursday and RM699 from Friday to Sunday.

About 90 per cent of the tickets have been sold, says the organiser, Malaysian events company 2Spicy Entertainment, which held the event in Kuala Lumpur in August last year and in Penang in February. About a third of the tickets were sold to Singaporeans.

Created in Belgium in 2006, Dinner In The Sky has been to 45 cities around the world.

Call me crazy, but I survived Dinner In The Sky Malaysia. It was the most terrifying dinner experience of my life, during which I gingerly bent forward to slurp on soup as my legs dangled precariously 13 storeys in the air.

The only protection under my feet was a small footrest with just enough room to position them side by side. Save for a thin cover above diners' heads, I was exposed to the elements.

Willing myself to look down, I saw passers-by glancing up at us, perhaps wondering why we had subjected ourselves to this seemingly foolhardy adventure.

The two safety officers onboard told us we could swivel our seats around and even adjust the backrest to lean farther back.

"Try it, it's fun," said one of them with a cheeky glint in his eye.

Three daredevils took his advice and pulled on the chair's lever. They did not fall to their deaths but, instead, squealed excitedly.

That was a good enough sign for me to follow suit and I was glad I did - the wider angle provided better photo-taking opportunities.

These were what I saw: yachts nestled in the harbour, a mall, buildings under construction, the calm waters of the Straits of Johor and the dull skyline of the rest of the city in the distance.

Mr Tommy Lee, chief operations officer of 2Spicy Entertainment, says that a suitable location for Dinner In The Sky requires more than just a beautiful view.

More importantly, the area has to have enough space and ground strength to hold the crane and table, which weighs up to 7 tonnes when all 22 seats are filled.

Never mind the view - when I saw streaks of lightning splitting the nightsky in the distance, I quickly checked the contingency plan with the officer.

He said we would return to solid ground in the event of bad weather such as strong winds or heavy rain. The dinner would then continue in an indoor lounge.

During my dinner on Sunday, the winds were not strong enough to bring us back to the ground. But it was windy enough to turn the food cold quickly.

And, because of the tight schedule, we had no time to savour our food. The chefs kept a close watch on us, swooping forward to clear plates as soon as each of us looked like we were done.

As I tucked into my dessert of cherry tiramisu, I felt raindrops on my head and, soon enough, we were on our way down.

Once back on the ground, one diner made a beeline for the nearest restroom five minutes away in the nearby building. She later threw up in the bus taking journalists back to Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2016, with the headline 'Let's go up for dinner'. Print Edition | Subscribe