Dans Le Noir – Dinner in the Dark
Close your eyes. Now. This may be an error, seeing as I want you to read my review, but just do it for a couple of seconds. That is how dark Dans Le Noir, the dining in the dark experience, is. It’s disorientating, disconcerting and something everyone should try once.
Dans Le Noir started in Paris and the food has a French-inspired slant. From the bar/reception area, you’re led into the dark room by your waiter, who is either blind or visually impaired, and they also serve you for the evening.
You can choose from four different set menus – meat, veggie, fish and chef’s surprise. We wussed out of the meat menus mainly because if I’m going to eat something with a face I at least want to know what animal it is I’m decimating.
Our waiter, Darren, was a lovely bloke. The kind of guy that the term ‘lovely bloke’ can be used for without sounding wanky. He was funny and genuinely warm, and made the effort to make you feel comfortable in a situation which is very new to most people.
The reality of eating in the pitch black is very strange. Although you’re given cutlery, you end up just scooping bits up with your hands (good thing is, no-one can see). You can hear other people in the room, and the tables are very close to one another, but without the visual cues of seeing who you’re talking to, even having a conversation is strange. I clung hold of Dan’s hand most of the time, and felt I needed the anchor. It’s a miracle you didn’t hear the sound of more shattered glass.
If you look up Dans Le Noir online the reviews are mixed to say the least. I’d suggest, if the idea of this restaurant doesn’t intrigue you as a concept, do not go simply for the food alone.
Firstly, there’s inevitably, going to be elements you don’t like of the dishes unless you’re the kind of person who will eat anything. Because you don’t know what the food is going to be (although you can inform the staff of any allergies upfront) you’re almost guaranteed to bite into something you just don’t like. For me, it was chomping into an asparagus spear (shudder).
Secondly, it’s not cheap. At all. For three courses and two cocktails, we spent £75.00 each (they charged us £3.00 each for two small bottles of water as part of this). The three course set menu alone was £52.00. This is definitely, at least for me, special occasion territory. If I’d eaten the food in a normal restaurant I’d probably feel ripped off – although that’s not to say the food isn’t good – just maybe not £75.00 good. I won’t tell you what we ate though, partially because I’ve forgotten big parts of it, showing perhaps the importance of being able to see and recognise what you’re eating.
However,it’s difficult to separate the experience from the food because the experience is to eat food in the pitch black – so they’re kind of one and the same. Let’s face it, going out and eating Domino’s pizza with different mystery toppings on it in this restaurant would still be exciting and strange, for a fraction of the cost.
But, to me, it was interesting and fascinating enough, for that to be an aside, really. When it comes to the divide of reviewers here, I’m definitely on the side of the fours and fives.
Dans Le Noir, Farringdon, dinner and drinks £150 for two
- Image attribution: Danslenoir.com