Opening a restaurant is child’s play. Opening a successful restaurant on the other hand is no easy feat, and perhaps that rationale alone establishes enough ground for today’s expanding boom for gastro-tourism.
It’s easy to see why these experience-based eateries work to a certain extent – These Instagram-worthy dining experiences with a strong novelty, be it in the environment or menu, feeds curiosities and appeases the appetites of modern consumers.
It’s new. Different. It’s.. *gasp* cool, and at the end of the day, it sells. No doubt, some of these said gimmicks have done very well and continue to flourish, whereas the others, unfortunately, progressively falter or shutter completely.
Needless to say, our skeptic selves had to make a stop at Kuala Lumpur’s latest gastro-tourism attraction Plane in the City to see how it fared. Here’s our complete and honest review:
If you aren’t aware, Plane in the City promises a 90-minute, five-star dining experience onboard an actual-sized Boeing 737 aircraft on the ground smack right in the middle of Kuala Lumpur.
Brought to you by the same guys who introduced Dinner in the Sky, Plane in the City is located obscurely along Jalan Bukit Bintang and anyone who doesn’t pay enough attention to the directions would probably miss the narrow turning in.
It didn’t help that the actual-sized plane is barricaded off, but those who have experienced Dinner in the Sky would have no issues as both the alternate dining experiences are situated beside one another.
While the invite suggested for us to be there as early as half an hour before our 8pm session, we were left waiting until 9.20pm before boarding, even when all 20 passengers for said session were already checked in.
After a formality announcement was made, we were boarded onto the plane in batches of four. For some ungodly reason, it took nearly an hour for all passengers to board, and yet again we were left waiting, this time on the plane.
Granted, there were two activities onboard – the Wing Walk and Cockpit Tour. The former allowed guests a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to step foot on the wings of the plane with safety harnesses in place while the latter permitted guests a cockpit visit whereby they could stick their heads out the windows on either side for photos.
That aside, the interior of the make believe plane itself is commendable. There were comfy sofas a la first class seats with LED screens displaying the names of each passenger, a proper dining setup, and a cabin crew complete in uniform.
This may be petty, but we had to point it out anyway – Soon after our feet got caught in the table cloth and we made a sarcastic remark about it, a male guest literally tripped over his and fell flat on his face. Ouch. Something evidently must be done about this.
Following a cheeky pre-flight safety demonstration prompting guests to “loosen your belts” to make way for a scrumptious dinner, we finally put the first morsel into our mouths at roughly 10pm. We were visibly hangry by the time and blatantly irritated.
Prepared by Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, our three-course dinner presented us with a salmon gravlax as an appetiser, a main course of chicken, fish or beef, and a dessert comprising a berry soup with panna cotta.
Food was delicious without question and the service extended by the cabin crew was top notch. However, judging the entire experience as a whole, the two-hour wait for dinner was a bit much, especially when the excuse given was seemingly due to the rain. Come on..
How did this gimmicky dining concept fare for us? About a 6/10. Is the price for the experience justifiable? Hmm, perhaps you should decide for yourselves. Be prepared for a long wait though.
The Plane in the City experience is priced accordingly: Economy Class (RM199), Business Class (RM399) and First Class (RM999, including a one-night stay at Le Meridien KL). All prices are excluding alcohol. More details can also be found here.