On April 8th I took my handsome boyfriend to dans le noir for a birthday lunch. It was a complete surprise to him and I am pleased to say I actually managed to keep it a secret since January when I booked!! I booked well in advance from their very user friendly website, and no deposit was required when booking.
From the outside Dans Le Noir (situated in Clerkenwell – London) looked closed and I had a brief moment of dread wash over me thinking that maybe I had somehow got the wrong date!…. to my relief I saw a couple walk in and the feeling of dread subsided.
Luke who had been standing next to me the whole time, STILL had no idea where we were or what we were doing…. time to break the news I think…… CAN I JUST SAY THAT LUKE WAS REALLY SURPRISED when I told him, he had heard about the restaurant but didn’t really know much more than…. you eat in the dark…… I so get girlfriend points for this!!!
Upon entering the restaurant we were greeted by a friendly host who took our names and asked us if we had ever been there before. She then sat us down in the bar area and left to get us some menus.
When the host returned she handed us the menus and asked if we knew anything about Dans Le Noir. I knew a little as I had researched before booking, but Luke said he didn’t really know much about it.
The host explained- Dans Le Noir is a unique dining experience where guests eat in the dark, and are served by visually impaired waiters.
We were then told to choose one of 4 options off of the menu which were Red (Meat), Green (Vegetarian), Blue (Fish) or Yellow (Exotic). Luke went for red whilst I went for green, at no point was we told what food we would be eating, as of course that was all part of the experience!!
We ordered our drinks, which were brought to our table once we were seated inside the main restaurant. We were asked to then place all of our belongings, including mobile phones into one of the lockers provided. Our hostess lead us down a corridor, to wait for our server Jack to come and get us.
Before Jack took us in, he gave us a health and safety briefing which included not getting up and going to the toilet or walking around. Instead if we needed anything we were to call out for JACK!!
So we were now briefed, had our food and drink all chosen, so it was now time to go in…. Jack instructed Luke to put his left hand Jacks shoulder and for me to put my hand on Luke’s shoulder, we were then lead through three sets of curtains, with the light getting progressively darker as we passed through until we were met with total pitch black darkness!!!
Okay I’m not going to lie I knew it was going to be dark, dimly lit maybe, but pitch black!! I wasn’t expecting that!!
So we are now inside the restaurant, which sounds like any other normal restaurant, I can hear talking, and laughing, and general chit chat, the only difference was I couldn’t see a thing!
It was really unnerving, not knowing where I was or the lay out! Jack sat Luke down first then lead me round the other side of the table. It was at this point that I did panic a little as I wasn’t sure where I was being sat and wondered if I was anywhere near Luke!! To my relief when I was safely seated I realised that I was in fact opposite Luke (panic over!!) okay so now we’re sat down (Jack who had been fantastic and talked us through the whole process, had left to fetch our water) time to feel around and try to get a grip on our surroundings!
It was such a strange feeling to sit there in the pitch black where you couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face! Luke and I started to have a feel around and work out exactly what was what.
Jack returned with our water, and left it down to me to pour, which was completely fun, to feel my way round the table to find the glasses, and then to fill the glass without spilling it, and hand it back to Luke!! It was a total giggle, and to be fair I wasn’t too bad at it!!
Our starters arrived pretty quickly, and we wasted no time in TRYING to eat them without getting most of it down ourselves (Tip-we wore our napkins like a bib….just in case!!) At first it was tricky, and I almost gave up with the knife and fork and opted for my fingers!!! however after a few tricky moments I seemed too have it more under control and felt a little more confident. I was surprised also at how quickly our conversation turned away from the experience and we chatted more about everyday things, just like this was the total norm!!
By the time our mains and deserts arrived, I felt like a pro, I wasn’t even phased at not being able to see my hand in front of my face, let alone my food!! Luke and I spoke about everything from normal everyday things, to holidays, to the fact that we didn’t realise just how dark it would be in here!!! Every now and then if the conversation went quiet I’d ask Luke if he was still there!! (Well you never know, it would have been a great opportunity for him to ditch me!!) but he did make sure to keep one hand on my knee, just as reassurance!!! We had a great time listening to other people’s conversations too, especially the couple sat on my left, they were on a DATE!!! An actual date that wasn’t going too well by the sound of it #awkward!!! You could tell she really wasn’t interested and he was VERY keen!!!
The food I have to say was delicious, I can’t speak of presentation because obviously I couldn’t see a thing! But both of our starters and mains were thoroughly enjoyable, I wasn’t so keen on my dessert, although Luke seemed to enjoy it.
All 3 courses were brought out fairly quickly, and I have to say that Jack our waiter was absolutely amazing!! He talked us through everything, from seating us, to where he was placing the food, he checked in on us regularly and made sure we were okay and enjoying our experience.
One thing Luke and I keep speaking about still, is just HOW DARK IT WAS in the actual restaurant!!! I can’t even begin to explain it!! I never ever thought it would be as dark as it was!!!
I would say the experience was around 2 hours from start to finish, when we were lead out of the restaurant it took a few minutes for our eyes to fully adjust to the light!! After returning to the main waiting area, the host bought over the actual menus where we could for the first time see what we had eaten.
I don’t want to share that with you as it’s all part of the amazing experience. And obviously I have no pictures to add in anywhere either!!!
The price for 3 courses each, plus 1 Diet Coke, 1 soda and lime and a cocktail was £125.00, I think it was well worth it and I would quite happily return. It was an experience like no other, I felt like I took more time when eating my food, and it seemed to taste better than when I just absentmindedly eat it. It’s also the strangest feeling to be submerged in darkness, and just how vulnerable you feel, sight is something I take for granted, and being at Dans Le Noir makes you revaluate that.