Dinner in the Sky

Eating out can pose its share of problems -- shoddy service, rude waiters, dodgy food, noisy neighbors and so on.

But what about this for a change of scene? Waiters catering only to you, a menu chosen well in advance of your visit, total privacy and a spectacular view of city or countryside, based on your preference.

There's just one niggling little detail -- location.

This "floating restaurant" is some way away from, well, anywhere -- 150 feet off the ground to be exact.

And there are no doors or windows, or even a floor -- just a 6.6-ton table piled high with food and champagne, with 22 chairs to seat patrons, while a crane holds the entire structure aloft, 150 feet above the ground.

Ranked among the world's Top 10 most unusual restaurants by Forbes magazine, Dinner in the Sky is coming soon to a town near you, or so its owners hope.

Dinner With Courage

The brainchild of David Ghysels and Stefan Kerkhofs, this venture is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

As I and other journalists were strapped into our chairs for a floating meal in Brussels, Belgium, while our feet dangled in the breeze, the thought of possibly plummeting to my death or at the very least, to a broken bone or two, did cross my mind.

It was enough to make some of my dinner companions reconsider their choice of venue while we waited to be served.

Even the presence of a violinist and pianist on a neighboring platform did little to soothe the frazzled nerves of one woman, who found the multiple seat belts too complicated and restrictive to handle. That nervousness was shared by the musicians as they prepared to perform for us on an adjacent platform, also perched 150 feet above the ground.

Before getting ready to take to the skies, pianist Bernard Vancraeynest of the Fortissimo group told ABC News that he "expected a more secure environment" in which to practice his art. Then again, he recalled, "this is not my strangest job to date. Ten years ago, I played underwater for two minutes."

"It was for a Chanel perfume ad," he said. "The whole orchestra came out of the water."

On this summer day though, water was far from his mind as he contemplated the possibility of "playing in the sky for the first, and maybe the last time."

The Latest Quirky Business

To Kerkhofs and Ghysels, Dinner in the Sky is only the latest in a long line of bizarre business ventures.

Speaking to ABC News, Kerkhofs recalled an earlier project that involved "dropping a car from a height of 160 feet, with people in it."

Naturally, the next idea to cross their mind involved a crane lifting, rather than dropping people. Cut to this new venture.

"We came up with the idea of a crane lifting a platform into the sky, but then thought, what's the point of keeping just a platform?" Kerkhofs said. "So we thought it might be cool to have a glass of wine or some food while enjoying the experience, hence, we came up with 'dinner in the sky.'"

"Besides," Ghysels said, "you can take the table to any picturesque location -- like the Grand Canyon or the Niagara Falls. It's mobile."

But dinner here does not come cheap. At nearly $11,000 a pop, it's not quite as accessible as your neighborhood restaurant.

And, should you want the star treatment, complete with pianist and violinist, the cost doubles to almost $22,000.

It's no wonder then that, as Kerkhofs said, "most of our clients tend to be private persons with money, or companies."

Corporations Take to the Sky

The duo have held events for a number of corporate clients, including Coca-Cola, San Pellegrino and Le Vins du Val de Loire.

As for private clients, Ghysels told assembled journalists that the most memorable request had come from a lively septuagenarian in Holland, who rented it for his 70th birthday celebration.

Other noteworthy rentals?

"When a board of directors at a company asked to use it for a confidential meeting," Ghysels said. "You can't imagine a more confidential location!" They are also hoping to hit the wedding circuit soon. When ABC News interviewed Eric Bogaert, the director of Belgium's best-known bridal magazine, Bruid, he passionately endorsed the concept.

"We wrote about this some time ago -- ran it in a supplement -- and got a big response from readers, asking for more information. So I think it will take off in a big way."

His views were echoed by René van Hoof, a journalist who writes about all things gastronomic.

"I think it's fabulous!" he said excitedly. "It's pretty costly but I do see it taking off. People have more money now -- and they want to spend it! Especially those people looking for something creative and adventurous."

Coming to America

So far, Ghysels and Kerkhofs have held events in Brussels, Lisbon and London. They are keen to bring the concept to America, but according to Ghysels, "the only problem is the insurance companies in the U.S. -- their demands are unrealistic."

Dinner in the Sky does provide some measure of insurance, but it's limited to cancellation "in case the weather is bad," Ghysels said.

Ghysels and Kerkhof shrugged off a suggestion that their clients might prefer an insurance policy that covered bigger calamities than bad weather.

"There's always one security guy below, who is in radio contact with the crane driver," Kerkhofs said.

But what about nervous customers, like my cranky lunch companion, who repeatedly expressed her unease onboard the restaurant? Perhaps they need to be in contact with the crane driver, too, since he or she quite literally holds their life in his hands?

Kerkhofs acknowledged, "People are generally afraid for the first 10 minutes."

He added, "After 15 minutes though, they start to relax. After half an hour, they will help themselves to a glass of wine. And after 45 minutes, they start calling their friends, saying, 'You won't believe where I am!'"

And after an hour and two glasses of champagne, they start wondering where the restroom is, as I discovered to my discomfort.

Short answer: There isn't one. And there are no plans to build one onboard.

"People should use the restroom before they go up in the sky and they will be fine," Kerkhofs said.

Or very very uncomfortable.

Luckily for me though, our whirl in the sky ended shortly after.

Nerves in the Air

How was it? Exhilarating, if a little nerve-wracking.

The chairs rotate a full 180 degrees and recline as well. Just be careful not to drop anything. Within three minutes of our ascension, I dropped my fork -- no, I didn't spear anyone by mistake, but it was embarrassing. Luckily for me, though, the waiters had some extra forks stashed away, so I wasn't required to eat the rest of my meal with a spoon.

I blamed it all on the strong winds. After all, even the pianist Vancraeynest later told me that he "lost the score" because of the breeze.

"It flew off," he said, after disembarking.

"These are the risks you take as a performer, I suppose," he said, not looking at all convinced.

Happily for Ghysels and Kerkhofs though, the dining audience had no such reservations after their lunch in the sky.

Maybe it was the breeze, maybe it was the view of the lush Belgian countryside, or maybe it was the champagne talking, but by the time we descended, even my cranky lunch companion had given up complaining.