Compiled by Allie Schratz, Editor of Business Review Australia
1. Mystery Ordering
Ogori Cafe, where everything is a mystery. In Japanese, ‘ogori’ means to treat someone else to a meal. Normally, that would translate into a ‘first round’s on me’ kind of deed, where you’re buying the first course of a meal for your group. But then, the ‘ogori system’ throws in a curveball: you’re ordering for the next person in line and receiving what the previous patron initially ordered. This could work in your favour or against you: on one hand, you could be given a big plate of food for the price of an iced coffee, or your starving belly may get stuck with just a glass of juice for $10. Either way, the experience makes for a great travel story.
2. Toilet Eatery
What began as simply an ice cream shop in 2004 has become a major dining attraction in Taiwan: Modern Toilet, where guests feast from toilet bowls while sitting atop a bathroom receptacle, and sipping drinks from plastic urinals. The ‘ick’ factor is also what attracts curious diners.
3. Desert Dining Under the Stars
Sounds of Silence is the ultimate Australian experience: a BBQ buffet of barramundi, kangaroo and crocodile, paired with bush salads and Aussie wine, all enjoyed against the stunning backdrop of an Uluru sunset. Coffee and port is served under the night stars.
4. Robot Wait Staff
For anyone who has ever dreamed of C-3PO-style table service, behold: at Dalu Robot Restaurant in Jinan, China, your host and server is a gleaming gold robot, pedalling hotpot cuisine to tables via pedi-cart.
5. Price is Patron-Dependent
At the original Lentil as Anything in St. Kilda, Melbourne, patrons choose the price to pay for their vegetarian dining experience. The concept was founded on the philosophy that customers should pay for what they feel the food is worth, re-engaging the community through a mutual appreciation for good food prepared with love.
6. Social Media-Driven Cuisine
Every month, a group of up to 40 people connected through social media platforms descend upon a specialist restaurant for a specific type of cuisine as part of the Social Dinner Club. The Sydney-based dinner features a discussion about the cuisine and associated culture, led by an expert food writer/blogger and the restaurant’s chef.
7. Catch Your Own Dinner
Gone is the concern over how fresh your seafood is: Japanese restaurant Zauo offers diners the chance to fish for their food. Bait your hook (both are provided) and catch your dinner from the aquarium surrounding the boat-shaped restaurant, then choose how you’d like it to be prepared.
8. Digital Menus
North Sydney’s Mundo Latin Grill and Tapas Bar delights CBD diners with a convenient way to order small plates: equipping them with an iPad menu that illustrates each dish – and provides tasting notes. It certainly helps take the mystery out of what you’re really ordering (Chipirones? Gamba?)
9. Treehouse Delights
Just north of Auckland, New Zealand is a peaceful pod elevated 10 metres off the ground in a redwood tree. Once used as a part of a marketing campaign in 2008, the Redwoods Treehouse dining room is available for private functions.
10. Butler Service Sky Dining
High above the Singapore skyline, experience a world first: personalised butler service during a 4-course meal from the comforts of a capsule atop the tallest observation wheel, the Singapore Flyer.