Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

Review: Immersive dinner show Lmnts Dubai is a visual feast that ends too quickly

Diners can expect excellent food and special effects, albeit at a high price and fast pace

Projections on the table during the "fire" course at Lmnts 
Projections on the table during the "fire" course at Lmnts 

Dinner at Lmnts begins rather ominously.

First, you’re led into a small drawing room, where a large chest is creaked open – dry ice pouring out the sides. Inside, we’re told, is a scroll for each of us to take, which will tell us what we’re in for. Then, a booming voice (not unlike Morgan Freeman’s) sounds from above. To paraphrase the unseen narrator, my fellow diners and I were about to experience an immersive journey through the elements – void, air, fire, water and earth. We were then blindfolded and asked to stand. I wondered if I’d ­accidentally booked us in for a theme park ride or an escape room rather than dinner.

Thankfully, after my friendly waiter grabbed my hand and helped me shuffle forth a few steps, I was deposited at a table in a dark room, illuminated by a bright white spotlight from above. In the middle of the table was a levitating, spinning ramekin dish of something that looked edible. And thus, the tone was set for the rest of the night.

Located on the 33rd floor of Sheikh Rashid Tower at Dubai World Trade Centre, Lmnts is described as an immersive ­experience, created to “beguile and amaze the diner by stimulating all five senses at the same time”. For Dh525, you’re promised a two-hour “magical dining ­experience”, complete with visual and sound effects, over five courses of food. Each course is paired with a mocktail.

The void course, for instance, is a levitating amuse-bouche, served alongside an intriguing series of geometric projections over our white table cloth. It’s also the only course that is explained in detail – the small, cold cube is a mix of avocado, pumpkin, protein bread and cocoa. With no time to waste, we’re transported into the air element, with the table transformed into a fluffy cloud. We’re also served up a fluffy cloud, with a plate of stuffed ravioli, topped with a generous portion of foam.

As the air course floats away, angry, flaming projections swarm the table – and an accompanying fiery soundtrack has us feeling like we’re on the inside of a volcano, complete with oozing lava and mini explosions. It’s here that we take on the main course: a plate overflowing with three types of meats and assorted vegetables.

The main course comprises three types of meat. Courtesy Edelman. 
The main course comprises three types of meat. Courtesy Edelman

What the meats were, we can’t be sure as they weren’t explained, but we’re going to go out on a limb here and suggest they were ­chicken, lamb and beef. But Lmnts relies on intrigue as part of the experience, so we won’t dock them any points for that.

Instead of one, we had three small juice tasters to take in ­alongside the grill plate, as we hunkered down in our volcano room. This was about the moment I started feeling a bit rushed, as the waiters seemed eager to whisk away my plate, even as I was still chewing my last bite.

Water extinguishes the fire for our next course, with the table awash with droplets and then a deluge. Stormy sound effects play out through the room as a small figure made up of water dances across the projection on each table. The visual effects are impressive, if not a little strange. Also, for this course only, it might pay to have already gone to the bathroom. The water course is akin to a bubble tea, but without the tea. The tiny pearls are sweet as they burst in your mouth.

For the final course, our watery outlook is somewhat caged in, as we’re transported to a leafy garden, complete with birdsong and a fish pond. A tray is placed in front of us, as are what look like tiny gardening utensils, and an edible “soil” is sprinkled all over. A waiter then arrives with a pot, which when smashed, oozes a sweet sauce across the rest of the “garden”. It’s delicious, but again, we’re not told what it actually is.

The dessert plate at LMNTS is made to look like a gardening experiment. Courtesy Edelman. 
The dessert plate looks like a gardening experiment. Courtesy Edelman

Come time to leave, I am stuffed to the brim, and am astounded to realise that it’s only 8.45pm and that dinner has lasted merely 40 minutes. While it probably doesn’t warrant a huge amount longer, expecting your diners to stuff down one course every eight minutes is a lot to ask – especially when they are paying so much for an experience that is advertised at two hours. As it was when we arrived, the building is deserted at about 9pm on a Thursday night, and there appears to be no one there but the cleaning staff. It’s a disconcerting experience if you’re used to the hubbub of the Marina, or of some of the nearby DIFC ­towers on a weekend night.

If, like me, you prefer to eat at a leisurely pace and the notion of value for money outweighs the gimmick, you might be best to stick with Deliveroo on the couch.

However, the quality and flavours of the food are excellent, and Dubai is known for its outlandish dining experiences. So if you’re someone who seeks out ­entertainment value in a meal – and not one to sit around and savour your fare – by all means, give Lmnts a go. Reservations are a must; contact 04 308 6849.

Updated: August 1, 2019 06:37 PM

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