Sunday, 16 September 2012

Dans Le Noir

Dans Le Noir. Meaning 'in the night' in french. From the name you might think this was a bar or a club, but it is in fact a restaurant! I wanted to share this one with you as it is by far one of the most interesting dining experiences I've ever had.

My visit to Dans Le Noir was a complete surprise. I had organised to meet up with an old friend but had no idea where we would be going. As someone that hates surprises I spent ages trying to guess but to no avail.

I am sure you can imagine my surprise when we arrived at Dans Le Noir and I was told we would be eating in pitch black.

Upon arrival we were greeted in a fully lit foyer and asked to put our phones away in lockers along with any other valuable possessions. This was firstly to stop us losing them in the darkness and secondly to make sure we didn't spoil the effect by using any devices that emit light.

Next we were asked to pick out one of four menus: Meat, fish, vegetarian or chefs surprise. I decided on the somewhat safer vegetarian option although with hindsight I would like to try the chefs surprise. Wine tastings are also available, although I didn't try this. After picking our menu we were introduced to our waiter. All the waiters at Dans Le Noir are blind and so are able to guide you through the restaurant with comparative ease.

Being guided to my seat it was strange to think that I was so dependent on someone who, in normal circumstances,  would be considered disabled. But this was far from normal and as we walked into the blackness I realised I had never experienced anything like this before. Even at night the lights of the street shine in through my window, or at least the moon. But here all the windows, if there were any, must have been blocked out, as were the doors, because I was not even able to see my hand in front of my face let alone the table or my dinner partner. The sudden redundancy of one of my senses was shocking and I found myself clinging to my guide lest I get lost.

Once I was parked onto my seat I felt much more at ease. In the security of a chair I felt less afraid of the darkness and began to enjoy it. The sound of people chattering around me was friendly and I began to relax. Having a conversation with someone without being able to see them was a little strange at first and I felt need to search for my friend's arm or hand across the table to be certain they were there.

When our food arrived my friend and I were entertained for quite some time by working out what we had been given! Part of the experience is not knowing what you are having and at the end they ask you to guess. I won't tell you exactly what I ate, as I wouldn't want to spoil the fun - but I shall tell you that it was delicious, french cuisine. Eating in the dark was a challenge, but not as difficult as you might think. There are knives and forks on the table but I went for the less elegant option of using my hands - after all no one can see you!

I could describe the experience in much greater detail but nothing is better than the real thing - so I would strongly suggest you go and see for yourself! I have attached the website below so take a look, there are a few in different countries

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