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As if a luxury weekend in Snowdonia wasn’t a good enough way to celebrate my birthday on my return to London I was whisked off to a surprise destination to celebrate even further. I stepped off the tube at Farringdon, walked a few minutes, turned and a corner and saw where we were going: Dans Le Noir
What’s it all about?
If you haven’t watched the film ‘About Time‘ then, first things first, you need to, and secondly you may not have heard about the restaurant Dans Le Noir or know the concept. The concept is a simple one; especially when you know that “Dans Le Noir” translates from French into “in the dark”.
That’s tells you pretty much everything about the restaurant. However, there are a few extra things worth knowing about this restaurant: the waiters are all blind and you don’t get to pick what you eat.
This may not be for everyone as I realised when I mentioned what I’d got up to to friends and work colleagues and was met with the reply: “eurgh, I hate eating in the dark”.
But then again, how many times have they actually eaten in the dark? How do they know whether they’d enjoy it? There’s only one way to find out, surely?
Arriving at Dans Le Noir you’ll be greeted by the maître d’ and can enjoy sitting in the light bar area before plunging into the darkness of the dining space. You can’t take any source of light into the dining area; no light up watches, no phones: it’s cheating if you do really.
Whilst you don’t know what you’ll be eating, you do get some say in your dinner menu. You have the choice between four set menus and can opt for two or three courses. Whilst I’m not going to tell you what’s on the menu, I will tell you that there are fish, meat, vegetarian and a Chef’s special menu.
The Dining Experience
When you’re ready you’ll be introduced to your waiter for the night, asked to put your right hand on the person in front of you’s shoulder and then you’ll be guided into the pitch black, and to your table.
Upon arriving at your table you’ll be told where the chair is and then taken through where everything on your table is positioned.
My eyes tried (and failed) in earnest to adjust to the darkness. Once they’d settled down and accepted they weren’t needed my hearing began to pick up and noticed people moving about, couples chattering, and the occasional “oops, sorry” as people bumped into the person next to them.
“But how do you use a knife and fork in the dark?”; perhaps the most commonly asked question. My answer? You don’t. After a couple of attempts trying to use my knife and fork I promptly gave up and resolved to use my hands. Everything you’re served is cut up pretty small anyway which makes your knife redundant.
Feeding whoever you’re dining with is also an option. Just be careful where you’re poking that fork – I think I almost took my boyfriends eye out which wouldn’t be the first time I’ve almost injured him like that time in the Amazon whilst Piranaha fishing…
After dinner your waitress will come over and guide you back out of the dark and into the bar area. Here you’re asked to guess what you ate.
Whilst I guessed both starters and the dessert (near enough), the main courses had me completely stumped. If you’ve been I’d love to know how you did!
Review of Dans Le Noir in London
So what did I think? I found the experience really interesting, and I’m completely in awe of the waiters and waitresses who work there – I don’t know how they do it.
For me a lot of the joy of eating was taken away by not being able to see what was on my plate. I get excited by what food looks like; the colours the presentation, so not having that was very strange.
I’d recommend it to anyone though – I think it’s an experience everyone should try!