Jelly on a plate?

Tuesday 31 Aug 2010

Diners at ChaoBaby in Manchester's Trafford Centre to eat alongside some of the ocean's most prolific natural predators...

Have you ever been out on a really bad date and had to gaze around the restaurant in a desperate attempt to find something to talk about? Well, designers at ChaoBaby in Manchester’s Trafford Centre may have solved this problem, as on arrival diners are greeted by the world’s largest privately owned jellyfish tank.

The bespoke 4,000 litre saltwater aquarium – designed and maintained by firm Aquarium Architecture – takes pride of place at the front of the restaurant and has been such a hit that the Chaophraya chain have already commissioned a second tank for a sister restaurant in Chapel Walks which it is thought will feature sharks and other exotic creatures from Thai waters.

If that wasn’t enough to make you lose your lunch, the 150 Thai moon jellyfish that inhabit the gigantic tank are hand-fed twice daily on live baby brine shrimp, hatched onsite. At 25-40cm in length, the moon jellyfish (or Aurelia Aurita) may look attractive, but a net of tentacles at the lower section of the organism’s body are studded with scores of poisonous sting cells which are capable of injecting poison into its prey’s body.

Luckily, Aquarium Architecture have formed the reinforced 3.5m by 1.5m tank from 40mm thick acrylic, hand pressed in the United States to ensure maximum quality and safety levels are achieved. Working with designers JMDA Ltd on the ChaoBaby project, the entire restaurant was taken from concept to completion in only four weeks.

Roland Marcelin-Horne, Creative Director at Aquarium Architecture, said: “This was always going to be an exciting and challenging project, given the time scales and the fact that there’s nothing else quite like it. Chaophraya wanted something bold for their new restaurant, that would really make a statement but it had to have real wow factor in such an impressive surrounding environment.”

In a country where the most exotic sea creature you’re likely to find is jellied eel, this hefty jellyfish tank certainly stands out from the crowd, but maybe it’d be wise to request a table at the back of the restaurant for fear of losing your appetite during feeding time….

Sian Disson
News Editor

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