Seven thoughts from a first timer at Dans le Noir ?

Monday 6th June, 2016


Dans le Noir ? is London's first blind dining restaurant. Thinking of braving the dark? Here's what you can expect

1. You knew it would be dark but did not think it would be THIS dark.

We are not talking about movie-theatre dark, squeeze-your-eyes-shut dark or even “I-need-a-flashlight-to-unzip-the-camping-tent” dark. This is absolute pitch-black.

2. Tucking your napkin into the front of your blouse is socially acceptable.

Messy eaters, rejoice. Unfortunately, this rule only applies to restaurants that are exclusively in the dark. Everywhere else, this bib practice is still frowned upon.

3. The food smells GREAT.

Often, your piggy eyes are too busy bulging at the sight of that fried chicken or gloriously roasted potatoes. When that is taken away, you begin to notice how incredible food smells and just how familiar those smells can be.

(Click to magnify) Image: Dans le Noir

Eating in the dark can be tricky but you would be surprised how much your nose helps you decipher what is on your plate.

4. Dark dining brings a whole new meaning to dinner conversation.

Minus smartphones or even menus, talking with your dinner companions has never been so simple.

You literally have nothing else to do but converse with those folks around you. Even your eyes get to sit back and relax. This can be an incredible way to communicate with friends and loved ones in an entirely new, ahem, light.

5. Fancy playing footsie? That foot may not belong to your significant other.

Dans le Noir? encourages socialising during the experimental dinner and parties are sat directly next to each other. The restaurant describes the sensation as “darkness killing shyness,” and boy, are they right.

Make friends with your neighbours as you guess what is in the mystery cocktail, but keep idle hands in your own lap. You never know who may be a few inches away in the darkness.

6. Silverware is overrated.

When each fragrant course arrives you have two choices. Either raise your fork in a ladylike grasp and blindly stab, praying the utensil connects with food, or simply dive in fingers first. I chose the latter.

Relax, you are in the dark and your grandmother’s disapproving gaze is nowhere to be seen.

7. Eat, drink, be merry and appreciate.

The dark dining experience can be fun, experimental, scary and nerve-wracking. But mostly, the meal should provide you with an unmatched change of perspective, if only for an hour.

Sight is not a luxury afforded to all, as made clear by the incredible blind waiters. Appreciate the chance to interact with the world in someone else’s shoes.