If you think you’ve been-there-and-done-that when it comes to dining out, there’s something else in Singapore you might want to check out.
It involves a themed dinner, complete with theatrics and elaborately decked-out rooms to create almost a thing of fantasy – and yes, you get to eat too.
It’s the brainchild of a local company called Andsoforth, and its creative team which comprises a host of people from chefs, actors and set designers to soundscape artists.
The couple behind the idea, Stuart Wee and Emily Png, were influenced by the underground dining sub-culture in London, according to a page of their website.
To say they put together whimsical dining experience, is an understatement.
Some of their previous pop-ups have had themes like “The Heist”, “The Experiment” and “Dinner in Wonderland”.
Diners need to book tickets online, and are only told where to go the day before.
Rather mysterious isn’t it?
Business Insider was recently invited to attend one these themed nights called The Imaginarium of Disco David.
With tickets going at $98 per person on Fridays and $108 on Saturdays, here’s a little preview of the experience you’ll get.
The location is kept secret till about 24 hours before the dinner, which is when we got a text disclosing the address of the event (and a few tips on how to get there).
The building was nondescript. The only giveaway was other diners dressed in disco themed outfits standing outside the building.
We walked around the building with our eyes peeled for any hints and this finally paid off when we spotted a small sign saying “This Way Up” to Disco David.
Unsure of what to expect, we were greeted by a hostess by the door, dressed as a doctor.
She explained that we were “doctors” visiting a hospital where we would be meeting some “patients”, starting off with Disco David.
The madness was just starting.
Once we passed through some purple doors, we were greeted with the sounds and colours of a real disco that could’ve popped out of a time machine from the 1970s.
“Club Disco Limbo”, as the room was called, was the first of five we were led into, and it is also where we met two characters “Disco David” and “B.Boy Goliath”, played by actors of course.
In the first room, Disco David and B.Boy Goliath taught us the first part of a disco move that we would have to perform at the end of the experience – in order to save disco. Hmmm…
We had to master this move, to the satisfaction of Disco David, before we could move on to the next room.
Everyone seemed a little awkward at first, but we warmed up and got into the disco groove pretty quickly.
And of course, as a reward for passing this first test (doing the first part of our disco move well), we were given a cocktail.
The cocktail was served either with or without alcohol.
The next room, the “Ocean of Desire”, was one of my favourites. To get in, we slid down a small slide and landed in a small room packed with small plastic balls.
It did get a little crowded with the group of 20 or so people, but we managed to squeeze in.
In this room, we met a character called the “Guardian of Desire”, a Shaolin Lifeguard.
He introduced the concept of discipline and the importance of it in this room – testing our level of self control and discipline.
He started his test once the food was served. We had to smell our crayfish wrap, and even lick it, but not eat it until he told us to do so.
We ate quickly as we still had to learn the second part of our disco move before moving on to the third room.
And of course, we had to perform the disco move to the satisfaction of the Guardian of Desire.
Once we were done with our wraps and nailed the second part of our disco move, the Guardian of Desire announced: “To enter the dragon, one has to become a dragon”.
This was the lead up to our movement to the next room, where we had to form a dragon’s body (a single straight line) and move together as a group.
Wading through the balls to get into the next room did prove challenging for some in our group!
In the third room, we met the “White Swan” – who performed a few feats of ballet.
The room was brightly lit, and very white, making it truly seem like we were in a hospital.
Our second course was a white fish dish with black squid ink and seaweed. Although the fish was a little bland for my palate, the dish was still tasty overall.
Once again, we finished our meal within a few minutes so that we could learn the third part of our disco move before moving to the next room.
While the White Swan showed off her flexibility and ballet moves during the meal, she taught us some simple moves that were easy enough even for someone with two left feet to complete.
The fourth room was one filled with darkness – and is where we met the Black Swan.
As the room was in pitch blackness, we had to hold hands, walk in a single file, and feel for the seats and tables in the room.
Unfortunately, it took a little readjustment before we got settled down – I found myself sitting on a table instead of a chair at first.
Lucky for us, there was a little light once we got settled and we didn’t have to eat our fried rice in complete darkness.
Later, the Black Swan explained through a song that the room was a place of reflection and that while darkness was not pleasant, it was useful in small quantities.
It served as a reminder that while some of our other senses are heightened when our sense of sight is taken away, disco cannot possibly survive in a world of darkness.
Before moving on to the last room, we performed the fourth piece of our disco move to the satisfaction of the Dark Swan.
We met “Big Mama”, Disco David’s mother, in final room called the Cunning Cabaret.
Big Mama was full of life and had a booming voice, welcoming us graciously into her room.
She introduced us to her ‘girls’ who started on their dance item, and left the room to get us dessert.
The girls even dragged one of the audience members on stage and got him into a dress as part of the item.
When Big Mama returned, she delivered our sweet treats along with a bitter side – that she would be closing the disco – unless we got down and boogied.
We ended up performing all of the disco moves that we had learnt throughout the night – with a moderately full tummy – and with some direction from the girls of the cabaret.
Impressed, Big Mama finally caved and vowed to keep the disco open for us.
The 1 1/2-hour-long event is definitely something for you, if experience is your thing. Who knows what their next themed dinner might be about (and where)?