x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Eating duck à l'orange as the world turns

My family loves revolving restaurants such as the Seri Angkasa in the Menara Tower, Kuala Lumpur. It's often the first sight we aim for when we arrive at a new city.

I'd lost my eight year old. He was sitting just next to me a minute ago, just by the potted palm. Then he vanished - whoosh! - and I had no sight of him. Then, a little while later, I spotted him again, sitting in exactly the same place where I'd last seen him. Then - whoosh! - he disappeared again. We were having supper in one of our favourite restaurants - the Seri Angkasa in the Menara Tower, Kuala Lumpur. Unlike most eateries, where you just sit and sup, this one canters around at an alarming rate. One minute our table was inches from the piano, the next so far away we could hardly hear the melancholic plink-plink. The Twin Towers galloped past at eye level. My son had, quite fittingly, worn a Spiderman outfit he'd bought earlier that day at a market stall, and pressed himself up against the floor-to-ceiling windows, pretending to scale the tall buildings outside.

My family loves revolving restaurants. It's often the first sight we aim for when we arrive at a new city. I'm convinced that's because with kids, it's not what you eat but where you eat that matters. A revolving restaurant keeps everyone entertained. We adults admire the view; I've found kids are never very impressed with views, however impressive they are. We also acquaint ourselves with the layout of the new city spread out below us far more efficiently than we would on a map. The kids enjoy the fact that they can easily slip away from their parents without even having to move, by simply sitting in the central section which doesn't rotate.

The other aspect the twins enjoy is the predictable menu. Like any other eight year olds, they don't like to be served up surprises. Wherever you are in the world, if you're in a revolving restaurant you can (almost) guarantee to find the 1960s' staples of prawn cocktail, duck à l'orange and Black Forest gateau. So thank goodness, despite being invented over 40 years ago when they were considered the height of modern technology, more and more revolving restaurants are thrusting upwards. In Asia and the Middle East, the love affair with lofty eating flourishes, from Macau Tower to Al Fanar and Tiara here in Abu Dhabi. But in Europe, spinning for supper is grinding to a halt. There's only one revolving restaurant left in Britain, and it's only three storeys high. La Sapinière in family holiday park Centerparcs at Elveden Forest, Suffolk (www.centerparcs.com), is so old it takes two hours to make a single turn as the rotation mechanism gradually grinds to a halt. The views aren't great - over a boating pond and the chalets - but the kids don't care.

Now, when we go to a new city, we don't ask for a restaurant with a certain menu, but one with a certain movement. And the faster the better. Do you have family travel tips that you'd like to share? E-mail Dea at dbirkett@thenational.ae