It’s “dinner and a show”, but unlike any you’ve experienced before. It’s a gourmet experience from Supernormal’s executive chef Ben Pollard alongside immersive audiovisual art. While you dine on a specially curated menu, you’ll be surrounded by surreal soundscapes and landscapes of imagined and abstract ecologies on an immense 360-degree screen. The setting is a “pop-up planetarium” with curved interior walls at Melbourne Museum Plaza, and it’s a new challenge for Pollard, who says it’s different to anything he’s worked on before.
“This is something new. We’ve done pop-ups in the NGV, but nothing like this,” says Pollard. “The installation set-up has been at Coachella and Berlin, but never with dining inside. This is the first time it’s been done. That’s what we’re excited about, to be doing that and in such a beautiful, historical spot.”
Part of the City of Melbourne’s new festival, Now or Never, the Neversphere will play host to 360-Degree Dining with Supernormal for just four nights, from Tuesday August 29 to Friday September 1. Each night guests will receive a Four Pillars Gin cocktail on arrival before settling into a night of food with matched Mitchelton Wines and artwork, featuring videos by artists Ryoichi Kurokawa and Natalia Stuyk in collaboration with techno artist Pantha du Prince.
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Pollard is bringing the Supernormal touch to the custom menu, heroing local Victorian ingredients with punchy Asian-fusion flavours, collaborating to curate a three-course experience that fits the artwork. And while the artwork is bespoke for this occasion, expect works to contrast light and dark. Granada-based Stuyk is known for her bright, bold electronic artworks and dreamlike digital landscapes, here fused with Pantha du Prince’s new-age-inflected techno. Kurokawa’s projections and immersive VR lean into shadowy spaces where movement is spun in delicate lines, waves and diffusion of light. Pollard’s menu reflects the ecological focus of the audiovisual pieces with seasonal dishes, and follows the gradual slide into the evening.
“The idea is it moves from day to night,” says Pollard. “[You] have the lighter dishes and snacks to start, then it moves into a darker, stronger flavour. We tried to balance it that way and so the food works with the experience and fits with the themes of the art.”
The menu includes share-style courses of multiple dishes, with the audiovisual experiences shown between courses. The whole meal is set to take about three and a half hours, with each course paired with wine from Mitchelton winery.
“We’ve put some classics on this menu from the restaurant, for the regulars, and developed a few new dishes based on the season,” says Pollard. “We want to try and focus on farmers and showcase what Victoria and Melbourne has to offer in terms of seasonality, so there’s a big focus on vegetables.”
In terms of the beloved Supernormal dishes set to feature on the menu, expect to dine on the lamb, alongside a few sides. But of all the dishes, Pollard is most excited about the new winter vegetable salad, with the ingredients sourced mostly locally. “We have really good resources with farmers at Supernormal. We work with Ramarro Farm, Somerset Farms, Day’s Walk, Remi’s Patch and smaller producers, and source some individual things from other places, like a citrus grower and an apple orchard,” he says.
While it may be taking place in a different environment, guests can expect the full Supernormal experience – alongside something extra. “We always try new things, and an event like this pushes you,” says Pollard. “We want people to leave with an experience they’ve never had before.”
360° Dining with Supernormal is on at Neversphere, located in the Melbourne Museum forecourt. Sessions run from 6.30pm – 10.30pm, Tuesday 29 August – Friday 1 September. Tickets on sale now.
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