Dinner in the dark with two beautiful women…

I’ve been wanting to go to Dans le noir for ages; and this weekend finally did so. It’s a very different restaurant, you eat in a strictly enforced pitch black room; and have to leave anything that creates light (luminous watch, mobile phone) in a locker beforehand.

After that you’re led into the restaurant, walking in a group with your right hand on the right shoulder of the person in front of you. The person leading us to the table was our waitress who was blind (and whose wrath we later met as she was putting food on the table, and didn’t take our arms off it as instructed).

I did think it ironic that there I was at dinner with the MSG (who of course I think is the most beautiful woman in the world) and one of my best friends, Barbara (who’s a glamourous TV news presenter)… oh, and her fiancé Mark too of course; yet none of us could see each others’ faces.

When we were first shown in, I found it strangely claustrophobic; it’s something about the inability to move and get up without asking the waitress for help. It does make the conversation strangely more intimate as you’re all there trusting each other; and feeling rather helpless.

The menu is a secret; you simply select a ‘totally random one’, a ‘meat one’ a ‘fish one’ and a ‘vegetarian one’. The idea’s to see how your senses can detect what the food is when you can’t see it (reminds me of the experiment I did in the Supermarket Cheap programme about the downshift challenge). Telling the difference between each type of food isn’t as easy as you think; texture becomes more important… though there’s no disguising the dark chocolate mousse at the end.

Very quickly we gave up with knives and forks, and starting eating with our fingers. Pouring the wine out was a challenge too, as you must grope in the dark to find the hand of the person pouring and give them your glass; though to my great surprise nothing was spilt.

After an hour and a half, walking out was quite strange. Again back in the shoulder trail of people we walked back into the light; eyes stinging in a way they don’t when you get up in the morning. The pitch of the restaurant is that by depriving you of sight, it heightens your other senses; I’m not quite sure it managed that. More an interesting theme night, with a bit of jeopardy thrown in by the dark… Fun though.

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PS. In the forum, someone asked “does it make you realise how it is for blind people in a sighted world”; I wanted to answer that here. I don’t think you can equate an hour or so in a restuarant, with other people in an identical situation, as ‘living life’ that way, which is why I hadn’t originally put anything about it in here.