Foodie couples and friends with a diving license can now enjoy lobster and champagne in Belgium’s first underwater restaurant. “The Pearl,” in Brussels’ Nemo33 pool, provides an intimate dining experience where you’re separated from the rest of the world in a special sphere five meters (16 feet) below surface level.
Since it was bumped off its throne as the deepest swimming pool in the world by the Italian Y-40 three years ago, Nemo33 has made it a point of pride to keep offering extraordinary experiences for which divers will travel out of their way. After installing an underwater adventure quarry and hosting multiple World Cup screenings down below, their newest bid to keep things unique features gourmet dining in The Pearl, a two-meter (6.6-foot) wide sphere tethered to the bottom.
Before putting on their attire, guests in possession of the required diving license put on scuba gear and flippers to reach the big white pod. The same goes for the waiter or waitress who delivers courses – made in a kitchen above ground – in a special waterproof case. After entering through a hatch at the bottom of the futuristic-looking construction, diners can either change into their snazziest outfits or simply keep it casual in a bikini and a pair of swimming trunks. A little experience and a diving diploma are required, though, since the scuba center doesn’t want anyone panicking on their way to the air-filled marble below.
It took over a year to design the bubble so that scuba enthusiasts could cozily dine inside. While the hatch doubles as a table, the constant pumping in of oxygen keeps the water out. Fresh air is constantly circulating, and large round windows provide a view of the water outside, kept at a balmy 91 degrees Fahrenheit (close to 33 degrees Celsius). Nestled in this cocoon where the rest of the world falls away, private conversation is a guarantee, along with a festive meal that includes lobster, foie gras, fruit salad, cupcakes, and champagne with a screw cap (so no stray corks can hit one of the windows).
Though plans for expansion are already being considered, The Pearl seats a maximum of four diners at the moment. At 99 euros per person, reservations are pouring in fast.