This is the first part in my 'unusual fun' series - looking at slightly different ways to enjoy life!
Today I wanted to share a fun experience we had recently in the form of a dinner party in the dark. I've got a few tips for hosting one of your own PLUS I also got the chance to visit London's own restaurant of darkness, Dans Le Noir, and experience their new club night - which I'll be sharing too :)
Dinner party in the dark - say whaaat?
The idea of the dinner party in the dark basically came about after seeing a restaurant in Budapest which did exactly that - served guests food in the pitch dark. The idea being that if you take away sight then it hightens your taste senses, making you focus on what you're eating and (hopefully) making you enjoy it more.
So a few months ago we set out to do our own dinner party in the dark and invited some friends along who we knew were open minded enough to join us and wouldn't assume we'd gone down the swingers route.
I thought I'd keep it pretty simple by choosing truffle mouse starters, coco van chicken main (thanks Mr Stein for that one) and boozy peach trifles....
The night was pretty much a big hit and a lot of fun (minus one confused and sick dog but we'll ignore that!). It does make you focus on the food you're eating, and for those who don't know what they're tucking into it's an interesting way to eat. Here's a couple of points I'd like to share about the experience...
Tips for holding your own dinner party in the dark
Don't tell your guests what they're having!
That's part of the fun of it, eating the unknown. Obviously I'm not suggesting you serve your vegetarian friend a meat supper or give your gluten free friend stomach ache - do a dietary requirement check and then keep your menu a surprise. Don't tell your guests what they'll be eating until they've tucked in, then let them guess! Then you can be really mean and joke 'How's the pig head everyone!? Seconds?'
Choose dishes you're comfortable with making
I'll be honest, the truffle mousse didn't quite go to plan, which I should have known after the last time I tried to make a chocolate one and inadvertently made scrambled eggs. So make sure you're really comfortable with what you're cooking and save any tricky stuff for another time - focus on simple but tasty dishes and it'll be a winning evening.
Pre prepare e v e r y t h i n g
It's hard enough serving in the dark so if you can get everything ready before each course then do - chopping the coriander garnish in darkness is just a nooo. To avoid any disasters when getting the courses together in the kitchen you will need some sort of light source too (i.e phone).
Also, make sure you can walk over to the table safely in darkness - you don't want anyone to see the dishes (or have them flown over their head!).
How dark can you get it?
Even with the lights off and the curtains closed you'll probably still have light from the TV power buttons, etc - and even from the light behind the curtains (especially for city living peeps!). If you wan't to go all out pitch black then get some black out blinds sorted and make a point of switching off the electrical stuff.
Warning: You will feel like you've just been born again when the lights go back on.
Carry on the darkness fun
You've already got through a meal in the dark, why not carry the fun on with some dinner table games? Some ideas are:
- The 'Never have I ever' game: ask people to say 'drink' if they have done the thing in question - maybe the darkness will make people more honest!?
-Photo taking with flash on: see how well your friends pose in the dark... and enjoy the random results!
Dining in the dark in London
A few weeks ago I was invited to London's very own restaurant of darkness, Dans Le Noir, for the launch of their new club night. The restaurant itself has been running for 10 years now and offers guests the chance to dine in the pitch black, whilst blind or visually impaired members of staff serve food - with the menu being kept a secret until after guests have tried it.
Whilst I didn't get to dine there (but really dying to!) I did get to experience the darkness room whilst enjoying some cocktails. I thought we'd managed to get our flat pretty dark for our dinner party, but this was something else. You really could see absolutely nothing, not even an outline of anything or anyone!
After being led in darkness to our table we got chatting with some people who were sat opposite us. There really is something interesting about meeting someone for the first time but not being able to see them, you start picturing what you think they look like in your head! I guessed I was talking to a young London woman, when it turned out to be a 50 year old business man from Kentucky.
They've actually had their fair share of celebrity visits to the restaurant - it turns out Kate & Wills once visited and the couple they sat opposite didn't have a clue until after they left. I wonder how they explained their jobs?
|The best shot I got at the disco! At least the blurriness hides my bad dancing.|
As well as the darkness chill out room, they also have a silent disco for their new club night which will be running from 10pm every Friday, with local and international DJ's providing House, R&B and Disco over two floors.
A glance at the cocktail menu and you'll find there are instructions on how to order your drink in sign language - this is because Dans Le Noir not only support blind workers but also work with Action Deafness - a national deaf-led organisation who support deaf and hard of hearing people around the UK.
Want to experience the night yourself?
Until the end of June 2016 access to the evening is £19 per person, £15 as a prepaid voucher through Time Out or £9 for people dining in the restaurant. The price includes headphones for the evening, access to the dancefloor, two bars and the Chill Out dark room with relaxing music, plus one free cocktail.
What do you think to dining in the dark? Is it something you'd like to try? Thanks to Dans Le Noir & Luxe PR for the invite down to London.