Pop-ups and themed restaurants, dining underwater or high up in the sky – restaurateurs come up with so many different, sometimes weird ideas to make sure that we, as customers, will find them interesting enough to visit and, hopefully, come back, bring others and tell our friends about the experience. My latest discovery, Dans Le Noir? In London, embraces yet another very unique, different and definitely deserving a thought and a visit concept – dining in a complete darkness.
I have to admit that I have never heard about Dans Le Noir? before. Not until I came across the dining in the dark or blind dining concept. Straight away millions of questions formed in me head – how is it organized, how can you choose what you would like to eat and drink, who takes your orders and serves you and more importantly, what is the idea behind this concept. We all know this saying that we eat not only with our mouth but also with our eyes. That is why all chefs and almost everyone working in the hospitality business know how important good presentation is. As customers we always look at the food that is being served to us even before we eat it. And by looking at it we are already calculating whether we are going to enjoy the meal or not. Dans Le Noir? takes this away from you. In the dark you can’t see what is being served and how it looks. But you can taste it. And you can smell it. That is what’s important in this restaurant and what makes this experience so great. You are not using your eyes but you are using your nose. You are learning how to appreciate the smell of the food, how to distinguish different smells and how to relate them to different ingredients. You can visualize your meal. After the meal, back in the lit bar, you can even compare your visualised dishes with the pictures of what really has been served to you.
The presentation of the dishes in not Dans Le Noir’s only surprise. In this restaurant you are never told what exactly you will be eating. Of course customers’ tastes are always taken into consideration and special requirements can always be catered for. That is why the current chef offers four different surprise menus – green for vegetarians, red for meat lovers and blue for those favouring fish and seafood. For those even more adventurous there is a white menu, described as exotic and unusual. Sounds interesting enough? For me it definitely does. I have been to many restaurants, I have eaten many different dishes but have I really learnt to appreciate the scents of the ingredients and food? Probably not. Maybe a visit to Dans Le Noir? will help me achieve this. And if I take my friends with me – this can be a truly unusual social, sensory experience.