Back in March I told you about Newcastle in the Sky, a dining event brought to you by Events in the Sky and the same company behind The Experimental Diner. Newcastle in the Sky is something you can’t effectively explain without experiencing first. When I was booked for the event, it felt so far away in the future that I didn’t really think about it until the day rolled around
Newcastle in the Sky is back on the Gateshead Quays for its second year. After a sellout residence in Performance Square in 2016, round two is bigger and better with more award winning chefs from across the region on board to make the experience unforgettable. The concept is this: a purpose built dining table suspended 100ft in the air whilst you’re served your choice of meal. Simples.
I was invited on to the press table to experience the inaugural flight and the culinary delights of REDS True Barbeque, translation: All The Meats. I arrived early for my flight – guests are asked to check in 45 minutes before their flight – and was greeted with a champagne reception in the Sky Lounge. All guests are given a full safety briefing prior to flying, there’s a free cloakroom available to store bags, coats and whatever other loose items you might have, and there are toilets on site for that all important emergency wee.
After I soak up two double espressos and a glass of fizz, we’re walked over to the table for our safety briefing and I manage to convince myself that it’s not as high as I maybe first thought….
The seats swivel out and have a super sturdy 5 point belt system to make sure that you’re strapped in tight. once we’re all fastened in and have our feet firmly on our A4 sized foot plates, we’re hoisted (pretty quickly) up into the air. My first feeling is one of absolute terror, I’m overwhelmed by how quickly we get into the air, and by the fact that the whole contraption moves in the wind. However once I’m up there, within a minute I’m completely relaxed.
The location of Newcastle in the Sky offers amazing views up and down the Tyne and over the famous curved architecture of The Sage. The weather conditions dictate the height at which you’re able to safely dine; as the weather is on our side, we’re up at the full 100ft with spectacular views of our awesome city. There’s a perspex roof over the table in case of rain, but we’re in luck, we’ve got low wind and cloudy skies but very warm weather. We’re served a selection of typical BBQ meats including pulled pork and slow cooked ribs, with coleslaw, side salad and a rum cocktail to wash it down. Usually at food events everyone digs in straight away but this time people are more interested in the views on offer from this awesome height.
To give you some perspective, we’re way higher up than the Tyne Bridge and we’re able to look down on The Baltic and The Sage; Newcastle in the Sky is way higher than you’ve probably imagined. Half way through our 30 minute flight our table is turned 180 degrees to give us the alternative angle and I notice the network of railway lines that run out of Newcastle and towards London, something I’ve never been able to see until now. Being up so high allows you to see things in your city that you’ve never noticed before, things you’ll likely never see again.
The food we’re served is good quality American diner style food. It’s served in airline style strays (for obvious reasons) and it’s laced with REDS famous BBQ sauce which has a delicious tang. If you like meat then the Afternoon BBQ flight is a feast but this is more about the experience and the views than anything else. If like me you’re nervous about the thought of being suspended from a crane 100ft up in the air with a bunch of strangers then don’t be. The nerves vanish once you’re up there and you’ll make friends with the person next to you in the first 30 seconds, in fact they’ll become your best friend for the duration of your flight. The chefs talk you through the food you’re served on a microphone and the whole atmosphere is very informal, so much so that it’s completely suitable for single diners who also feel nervous.
The whole Newcastle in the Sky experience from start to finish is just that, an experience. It’s only around for six days and I’d urge you to try it Voyeurs. I was nervous – so nervous in fact that last year I cancelled at the last minute – and this year I’d jump at the chance to do it again. The selfie potential is epic, the views over the Tyne are unrivalled and you’ll talk about it fondly for ages after. Yes it’s pricey (tickets range from £50 to £150 each) but it’s worth it for the experience alone, if you’re on the fence about it just do it. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed, it’s literally been one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had.
FANCY TRYING OUT NEWCASTLE IN THE SKY?
Select the sitting you fancy, click here to make your booking, you’ll have to be fast though as several dates are already sold out…
Breakfast sittings – start your day with a healthy four course breakfast from up high.
Lunch sittings – sit back, relax and enjoy a stunning three course lunch and two glasses of sommelier selected wines.
Afternoon sittings – enjoy a sumptuous treat with champagne high tea whilst relaxing in the summer sun, alternatively enjoy the American-style BBQ dishes from REDS for meat lovers.
Dinner sittings – enjoy sunset views with a spectacular four course dinner and two glasses of sommelier selected wine.
Night sittings – see the Newcastle nightscape from a different view whilst sipping on cocktails in the sky.