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Marsie’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 30 Mar 2008

Location: Dans le Noir?, England

MapForget dancing in the dark, why not try eating in the dark? Lucas organised a group dinner at Dans le Noir? This restaurant has its diners eat in the dark so they can re-evaluate the notion of taste and experience what it might be like to be blind. Itís Ďa unique human and sensory experience of a dinner in the pitch dark.í

When we arrived we were given locker keys for our bags and were asked to pick a menu, eg. vegetarian or no fish. The idea being you donít know exactly what youíre about to eat but it could be anything from your chosen menu. From there a waiter takes you to the restaurant. The waiters are blind and as theyíre leading you into an increasingly dark area, you walk through with your hand on the shoulder of the person in front.

There were six of us for dinner all sitting around a table. With my arms outstretched I could feel the edges of the table, so it wasnít that big but having to listen without the visual clues, it felt like the table was much bigger as my friends sounded further away than they were. The conversation had more pauses as we listened and waited for others to finish.

Food was brought to the table and taps on the table would indicate where it had been placed. Also, we would occasionally feel taps on the back as they waiters navigated themselves around the restaurant. It is a situation of trust also, as youíre not sure whatís happening around you. There were a couple of clanging confrontations.

I soon gave up on cutlery (Iím not great with utensils anyway), and found pouring drinks the hardest. Basically, I stuck my finger in the glass and poured till my finger got wet. The only problem was that I also poured wine over my finger, hand and the table.

Guessing the dishes was harder than I thought and to be honest, the food wasnít that great. At the end of the day, the restaurant is about the experience rather than the food. The experience was also marred by a group of 30 that were shouting over tables (Iím assuming) to each other. Given the whole place seats 60, Iím fairly sure everyone else in the restaurant were also subjected to their conversation. With the veil of darkness, I shouted to my friends at the table to compete with their levels, and so we could hear each other at our table. Clearly no match for the bigger group, I decided to shout at them instead. ĎShut up! This is a restaurant, not a pub!í To which one of them shouted something about being rude. What ever.

It was funny, as we went to the bar - with lights - afterwards, and the large group were milling around looking suspiciously at the other diners trying to work out who had been shouting at them...

Hereís the website if youíre curious