It’s fair to say that the format of the dinner party hasn’t changed very much over time. Even the development of smartphones hasn’t had a huge impact, because it’s still the done thing to ban all screens at the dinner table if you want to have the best possible dining experience.
But all that is about to change with the emergence of the interactive dinner, which uses the latest digital technology to enhance what is an age-old social experience.
An interactive dinner is one in which there’s some element of interactivity between dinner guests and their environment, adding an extra dimension to the evening. More traditional forms of interactive dining might include theatrical performances in which the servers are actors playing a part and encouraging guests to participate in a narrative.
But more recently these experiences have come to involve digital art, with tables that come to life and video-screen walls that transport you to new locations. Here are just a few interactive restaurants around the world where you can try this new way of dining.
London's famous eateries include some very well-established and even historic dining options, yet this modern city has also embraced interactivity. At inamo Soho restaurant, guests can use digital tabletops to place their orders, play games while they wait and even watch their food being prepared thanks to cameras in the kitchen and viewing screens on the tables.
At the Berkeley Hotel, guests can try the 'Out of the Blue' experience at the Blue Bar. This involves sitting in a small booth surrounded by 360-degree video screens showing images that directly relate to the carefully curated drinks menu served during the session.
Dubai's Ebony Restaurant uses digital tabletops for guests to browse menus, place their orders, and even transform the tablecloth to a pattern of their pleasing. To entertain themselves during food prep, guests can use the tabletops to look at social media, read the news, and send photos and messages. And when the meal is over, they can even use the tables to order a taxi home.
Artists in Tokyo have joined with the Sagaya restaurant to create a digital dining experience like no other. Eight customers per day can sit down at the state-of-the-art smart table to see sights inspired by Japan, as well as being surrounded by sounds and smells that go along with the visuals on the tabletop screen. The table also responds to the dishes placed upon it, showing guests an interpretation of what has gone into that dish.
If your dream kitchen includes an interactive dining table, then you'll soon be in luck. There are already touchscreen coffee tables on the consumer market from brands like D-Table, and dining tables are sure to follow. The perfect addition to any smart home, built-in screens are becoming a key part of luxury living.
For a truly immersive one-off dinner party experience of your own, you can even hire dome or cylinder screens from companies like Igloo Vision, for private events in your home or garden. These come complete with 360-degree imagery from around the world, so you and your guests can dine anywhere from the Italian mountains to a tropical beach.