Review: Dans Le Noir Restaurant, London

Photo by Julien Haler

Photo by Julien Haler

Sarah Osborne tried out a unique dining experience where she ate in the dark! Here’s what she has to say about it.

It was my boyfriend’s birthday and we wanted to celebrate a little differently, already being keen regulars at almost every takeaway in our home towns. I’d heard of a restaurant in London called Dans le Noir, French for “in the dark”, and I immediately wanted to try this alternative dining experience. The prices were a bit high for my student budget – £52 per person for a 3 course meal (and surprise cocktail!) – but we considered the experience worthy.

When we arrived, we stood in a dimly lit room with lockers lining the walls. The host presented us with four menus: surprise, meat, fish, and vegetarian. Not only were we going to be eating our meal in the dark, we also didn’t know what we were eating. Willing to try all sorts of food, I chose the surprise menu, and he, the meat.

We put our possessions in a locker and were introduced to our blind waiter – yes, blind – and were led, single-file, hands on one another’s shoulders through a series of black-out curtains. The blind waiter was already very familiar with the restaurant layout, but we were overwhelmed by the unfamiliar atmosphere.

The first thing I noticed were my heightened senses. I could feel the breath on my neck as the waiter spoke, and feel the presence of him standing behind me – almost like a horror movie. I expected my eyes to adapt after a while, but they didn’t.

When we ate, I started to regret choosing the surprise menu. I found myself prodding the food with my fingertips and testing the flavour. I was absolutely horrified at first to feel a slimy, fleshy consistency, accompanied by something spiky beneath it. When trying to pick up the food with the fork, I occasionally ended up grabbing nothing and eating air instead.

When we finished, we were led outside and our menus were revealed. It turned out the fleshy starter was in fact raw tuna, and the spiky bit was simply salad.

The revelation of the main course was particularly shocking to me, as the meat was one I had never tried before and thought it may be the best meat I’d ever come across. My new favourite was in fact ZEBRA. I really didn’t like the thought of eating zebra as I am a huge animal lover, but I let my hypocrisy slide knowing I didn’t have a problem eating the wild boar and venison on the menu.

The only thing on the menu I wasn’t scared of eating was the dessert, which turned out to be creme brûlée and profiteroles – I’m also pretty sure the surprise cocktail was a Sex on the Beach, but I guessed this only because of my drunken student lifestyle.

Overall, it was very interesting and I would recommend it – mainly for the experience, and not for the food. Sadly, it’s hard to fully enjoy a meal if you’re scared to eat the unknown!


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