And I finally tried it... It's called "Dans Le Noir" or in the dark, a place where dinner is enjoyed completely in the dark. It’s a place where you’re detached from the real world: No phones, no watches and nothing to connect us with the outside. Dans Le Noir activates three of your senses and makes them stronger and more alert; "taste, touch and smell."
This is what you see inside!
Dans le Noir is a unique sensorial, social and human experience where guests dine in total darkness and are guided and served by the blind and visually impaired. With more than a million visitors worldwide since 2004, this experience is a major international success, supported only by the international media and word of mouth.
We arrived at 06:40pm and we're ready to be seated five minutes afterwards. Lockers are provided to leave your phones, watches and jackets. Nothing that gives light is allowed inside the restaurant. At the bar you can have a drink or immediately start the experience. As a waitress approaches you, you are asked for the menu (three courses with or without wine or the tasting five course meal). Allergies are noted while your waitress approaches to take you in. Waiters and waitresses are blind and well trained to serve you and guide you through the night.
Put your hand on your friend's shoulder and start the walk. Pass the first curtain then a second and you're in. I imagined the restaurant to be a V shape, corners are protected with leather and filled with square tables. We were seated on a long rectangular table sharing a meal with people sitting on the right and left side.
As you walk in, aromas are felt immediately. I knew that we were having fish tonight. Plastic chairs and plastic cups, each customer has a set of cutlery in front of them and a table napkin. Ghada was our waitress.
First initiation - pouring water into your glass:
- Open the glass bottle covered with a plastic cap, put a finger into the cup to make sure when to stop pouring and let the water flow.
Food is served:
- We received a plastic plate, the first being rectangular, the second round and large as for the dessert it was circular and small. You will let your senses guide you.
- Personally, I started by using my nose. I smelt fish and probably salmon. Before taking the cutlery, I started touching each and every one of the ingredients trying to understand what were we eating tonight. I felt the salmon, scallops and a certain kind of mousse. The hard apples cut in fingers and something meaty I didn't really understand.
- Three different entities, each on a side of the plate. Ingredients are enjoyed separately until I took the fork. Since it's dark, I was eating apples with meat, cream with the scallops which together weren't as expected.
Ghada was ready to take the plates away. We were asked to leave the cutlery on the table and help give her the plates.
- Main course had a strong smell. It felt the truffles and a kind of meat. Touch was clearer this time, cubes of tender meat, which I knew was veal, risotto mixed with truffles, a tender chunk which I thought was potato purée and a cylinder of a sweet vegetable that felt like courgettes.
- Dessert was ready. Three entities; a glass with an apple crumble, an almond macaron with chocolate mousse and a crunchy tart with cream on top.
During dinner, you can't stop speaking. You will talk about your senses, you will share your discoveries, and you will ask questions. One long hour passed where talking and sharing are the main attraction.
It really is an experience where eating with your hands is a must to understand the textures, where sniffing the plates is normal and pushing food onto the plate is not the easiest of things. Some people didn't even find all the preparations in their plates.
Food is good. It surely is better enjoyed when you see it but one can't deny that the ingredients used are from a very good quality, flavors are rich and mixes are equilibrated. I enjoyed the scallops, loved the risotto and veal cubes… finished with a mouthwatering macaron with chocolate mousse.
An Experience to try at least once in your lifetime!