Europe’s first underwater restaurant allows guests to spend four hours dining on the seabed of the North Sea.
The restaurant, named Under, was built by the architecture company Snøchetta at the southernmost tip of Norway. It sits semi-submerged on the seabed which is five and a half metres below the surface. It is made almost entirely out of concrete but boasts a glass wall which allows guests to see the ocean life surrounding the restaurant.
Founder of Snøchetta Kjetil Trædal Thorsen in describing the project to Visit Norway said that diners will find themselves somewhere between land and sea which will “offer (them) new perspectives and ways of seeing the world, both beyond and beneath the waterline”.
Construction of the building began back in 2016 and the restaurant opened its doors for business on March 20th this year. As of now, it is completely booked up for most days until the end of September.
On arrival, guests descend a set of stairs to the restaurant below. The panels lining the walls of their descent are coloured to create the image of the sun setting into the sea.
The restaurant offers a set tasting menu which takes diners through a three and a half to four hour evening of seasonally selected local dishes. The menu is named The Immersion Menu and includes a selection of 18 tasting dishes.
Under’s Head Chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard describes the journey from source to plate as “minimal” as the sea surrounding the restaurant is “bursting with fresh delicacies”.
“Not only is the sea filled with a vast amount of delicious fish and countless types of shells, but the beaches here also offer plenty of exciting ingredients such as sea arrow grass, sea rocket and salty sea kale,” he said.
The Immersion Menu costs 2500 Norwegian Krone (approximately €258) per person. The booking fee is 1000 Norwegian Krone (approximately €104) per person which is put towards the cost of the menu.
Alongside promising a unique and memorable dining experience, Under hopes the experience shows the complexities of sea life.
The restaurant uses artificial lights to attract plankton close to the restaurant. In turn, larger fish who eat the plankton will be drawn to the area. The glass window will allow diners to view all the sealife activities during the course of their meal.
The restaurant was designed to eventually become part of the sea itself. Snøchetta’s decision to build the wall out of concrete was made in hopes that kelp and limpets would come to live in them. This should result in the restaurant becoming an artificial reef.