Jesse Gerner, head chef and owner of Bomba, thought people were “getting bored of smashing burgers and chips at music festivals”. So when Sugar Mountain approached him a “sensory restaurant” concept – an on-site, interactive restaurant holding four sittings of 50 minutes throughout the 2016 day-festival – he was into it.
“It’s about having a whole sensory experience,” says festival managing director and curator, Brett Louis. “We know that food offerings at festivals have a huge impact on people’s enjoyment. So we thought, ‘How could we get food, art and music to come together in a Sugar Mountain way?’”
At times the food will be served to you, other times it will be hidden in the restaurant. Lights and music will give the audience clues on where and when to find it, and will keep in time with the service. Gerner hints that round dining tables and centrepieces might have smoke or coming out of them.
The restaurant will serve four courses: tapa on arrival, a cold entrée, a tapas-style main meal and a dessert – plus drinks paired with every course. The dessert is a “hot-and-cold chocolate”, which is a “frozen chocolate with a hot chocolate mousse on top,” Gerner says. “It’ll probably be served in a takeaway cup, so people can take it back out into the festival.”
“I think it’s a bit of a crazy idea, but it’s the right time,” he says. “The crew that go to Sugar Mountain are the type of people who are into interesting food, not just about getting wasted.”
“It’s all a work in progress, but the restaurant adds a different element to the festival that allows us to be really creative,” says Louis. “It’s new and it’s challenging to compose – that’s why it’s so exciting.”
Sugar Mountain will take place on January 23, 2016 at the Victorian College of the Arts. Specific seating times at the Sensory Restaurant can be booked with your festival ticket for an additional $55 per person. Tickets go on sale on Monday October 19. More information on the Sensory Restaurant here.
Broadsheet is a media partner of Sugar Mountain Festival.