Lights out — this sensory dining experience serves you delicious food in the dark!
Maybe you’ve heard whispers on the street about this brilliant concept of dining in complete darkness, or maybe you’ve watched Richard Curtis’s About Time and have formed a deep obsession with the idea that you might meet your soulmate there á la Domhnall Gleeson (eternally Bill Weasley) and Rachel McAdams. Either way, let your curiosity run riot and take yourself down to Dans Le Noir?, because this dining experience is not to be missed. Forget pretty, Instagrammable dining—you’ll get no cute pictures in here—but we do promise a dinner at Dans Le Noir? will be an experience you won’t forget.
First things first, is it really complete darkness? Yes. Yes it is. There is no soft-focus mood lighting here, this is full on can’t-see-your-own-hand-waving-in-front-of-your-face kind of darkness. You’ll be asked to leave your phones and electronic devices (including those pesky digital watches) in the lobby to avoid any kind of light pollution in the restaurant at all.
‘But how does it work?’ we hear you cry. How do you find your seats/go to the loo/know where your glass is? Well, your blind or partially-sighted waitstaff are your guardian angels while you’re dans le noir. You’ll be led into the restaurant in sort of a conga — hands on the shoulder of the guest in front of you, and helped into your seat. If you need any assistance locating cutlery or anything else you might have lost in the dark, your waiters are on hand to help. Likewise, if you need guiding to the loos, your waiter can drop you off. Don’t worry, the toilets are (thankfully) fully-lit!
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Onto the food: this is after all, a restaurant. You’ll be given a choice of four colour-coded menus: red (meat), blue (fish), green (vegetarian) and white (chef’s special) but the details of the menus at Dans Le Noir? are always kept a mystery. If you have allergies or intolerances, don’t panic, those with dietary requirements will also be accommodated. Simply notify the restaurant at the time you make the booking and also remind your waiter when placing your order, and you’ll receive your own allergen-free surprise meal.
The mystery menus mean that you’ll have no idea what you’re tucking into under the cover of darkness, but you’ll find you have plenty of conversation starters just from attempting to identify what’s in each dish. It’s an unparalleled sensory experience, forcing you to focus on the taste, smell and texture of each mouthful you eat. And if you thought fine dining was all about presentation then think again, at Dans Le Noir? there’s no judging a book by its cover. Every dish must speak for itself.
Eating your surprise dinner in the pitch-black darkness might seem slightly daunting at first, especially if you’re worried about slips and spillages. However, once you get used to it, we think you’ll find the experience freeing. You can use your fingers, lick the bowl and put your elbows on the table — darkness knows no table manners!
And after finishing up your meal in the dark, your menu will finally be revealed! You’ll find out if you correctly identified what you were eating and discover just how accurate your sense of taste is. Maybe you’re ready for a MasterChef taste test, or maybe you need to plan your second visit to Dans Le Noir? to train up those taste buds. Either way, your dinner in the dark experience is sure to broaden your gastronomic horizons.