Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dine Mile High - Destination Sicily

Transporting you around the world without ever having to leave London!

I read about Dine Mile High when it launched and thought it was the coolest concept ever!  You check in at a secret location and grab your boarding pass and passport, make your way through to the departure lounge for a few cocktails, before you’re called for boarding (by name!) and entry to the restaurant with a particular destination theme.  How much fun does that sound?!  

Thankfully the experience also lived up to the expectation – what a fun evening…

I met my cousin at Piccadilly with an address we weren’t familiar with.  Google maps was unhelpful (why have they changed it?!!)  15 minutes of wandering around Haymarket and the Strand, we then realised that the venue was a 2 minute walk from where we’d been standing… Doh.

Check-in however, was a pleasant experience!  No miserable assistants, no stupid questions asking who packed your Mulberry.  No need to squeeze your coat, bottle of water, other bag all inside one case, (damn you Ryanair) because they have a cloakroom!  Bonus!  Instead, we were greeted at the desk by the pilot and his gorgeous team of air stewards, and almost immediately, we found it impossible to resist getting straight into flight mode, as we were given boarding passes and passports and ushered through into the departure lounge. 

And what a fabulous lounge it was.  Dark and decadent, sofas and bar stools, extremely good looking bar men and the cocktails weren’t bad either!  This definitely didn’t feel like Heathrow Terminal 1…  Faye opted for the Aperol which she proclaimed was quite delicious.  I went for the Mile High Martini - again, very pleasant!  As we sipped on our drinks, more passengers filled the bar, and the beautiful air hostesses made small talk with us.  General holiday chit chat.  Faye and I got right into character!  Had we been to Sicily before?  How were our drinks?  Where was my dress from?  The pilot also came and introduced himself while sipping on an Aperol…or 3!  It was quite possible we’d be in for a bumpy flight, but he assured us it would be fine… He had a good co-pilot (just aswell!).

After having our passports stamped for more cocktails, and also indulging in some lovely arancini balls, the pilot introduced us all to his team and invited us by name to board the plane (meaning restaurant).

Our dining area had been transformed (from nothing, I suspect…), to a beautiful Sicilian courtyard complete with huge, long tables; boxes of fresh fruit and veg strewn around; washing hanging out to dry; exposed brick walls and pretty flowers.  We were all asked to sit opposite each other, making for a very sociable experience as we ended up chatting to the people who were sitting either side. 

We were also invited to share the table wine around and our second course was a huge and very delicious bowl of aubergine and tomato Pasta alla Norma – again in a huge sharing bowl, encouraging you to get to know your neighbours.  (I’ve skipped over the starter, because it really wasn’t to my taste… Marinated swordfish in orange and cinnamon with fennel and pine nuts, although it’s worth pointing out that everyone else seemed to be enjoying theirs…)

The main course was pretty darn tasty though - Slow roasted pork belly with braised hispi cabbage, white beans and sicilian lemon.  Hispi cabbage I hear you ask?!  Yes exactly, but it was really nice, promise.

While we waited for desert, (there was quite a wait between courses - but then of course, a flight from London to Sicily is around 3 hours…), there was more entertainment from the cabin crew who had been cast perfectly!  All full of fun, personality and really rather funny, as they got into character.  We were also invited to take part in a game (I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you what you might win!)

Desert was Burnt peach gelato, pistachio praline and amaretti biscotti.  But by this point I was way too full from the previous 3 courses and couldn’t quite finish it!  So, all in all, 4 courses, 2 cocktails and wine with dinner, all for the very reasonable price of £65 per person!  Not bad at all!  Another great thing about the Dine Mile High concept is that there’s a different destination every time they ‘pop up’, meaning you can be transported round the world without ever having to leave London.

Grab together your girls, guys or groups and celebrate your next special occasion in style.  Book well in advance though, there only seemed to be around 80ish seats and they were all full.  Or, you can pay just £20 and visit the departure lounge without the restaurant experience.

Dine Mile High is definitely dinner with a difference.  Here’s to a very pleasant flight!



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