food & drink

London dining: Dans Le Noir create sensory sensations

Written by Sarah Aston

Most diners choose a restaurant based on the food, the ambiance, the setting and the presentation of a meal.

Most diners choose a restaurant based on the food, the ambiance, the setting and the presentation of a meal. A common saying amongst restaurateurs is that one eats not only with their mouth but also with their eyes and you would be hard pushed to find a restaurant today that doesn’t pay attention to appearance. 

Yet with so much attention being paid to presentation we often forget our other senses. Britain’s taste buds seem to be paying more attention to how delicious the food looks rather than how delicious the food tastes. 
Unique restaurant Dans Le Noir, London aims to challenge our tastes buds with its unusual dining experience. Set up to give diners an insight into the way that the blind experience food, Dans Le Noir is set in a completely dark room so that diners cannot see their surroundings. 
Dining in the dark
Guided to tables by blind waiters, diners are given the opportunity to fine tune their other senses throughout the meal. 
The interesting element of the whole experience is that you are not told what you will be eating. Before you enter the dining area, a waitress gives you the choice between a meat, vegetarian or chefs surprise menu. The idea behind this is that without being able to see the food, your taste experience is heightened. 
I opted for the meat option whilst my partner adventurously chose to dine on the surprise menu. Guided to our table by our delightful waitress Joy we were soon tucking into our starters. For the meat option I was treated to a rather lovely beef carpaccio dish that was instantly recognizable despite not being able to see it. On the surprise menu was a medley of raw fish that was seasoned wonderfully.
A sensory experience
For mains, we were each treated to a trio of meats yet my partner was unable to guess just what type of meat he had been given. We were later told that he had been eating Ostrich, Zebra and Beef. Quite the surprise indeed! 
Dessert was a rather refreshing lavender crème brulee that was instantly recognizable. 
Dans Le Noir offers an unmissable experience. Not only do you gain an insight into how the blind live, you also become aware of just how little you use your other senses. My hearing and taste was heightened and you will often be surprised at how much you can guess and navigate your way around a table and an entire three-course meal without being able to see.
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Photo: Julien Haler
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