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Eating in the dark

We just had an amazing and very different dining experience.

You might have heard of the concept of dining in a pitch black restaurant where the servers are blind or vision impaired. There are several of those restaurants around the world and we have one in Vancouver as well.

We had been debating if we should go or not because we love food and we love to make it look good and see what we eat. So needless to say, we were a bit unsure of the idea of not being able to see what we put in our mouth.

It turned out to be a great experience and we are happy that we took the plunge and tried it.
We started off outside the restaurant where the hostess gave us the menu, yes we got this outside so we could actually read it 🙂
The menu looked something like this:

Starter:
Surprise!

Main course:
1. Beef Tenderloin with peppercorn sauce, potatoes and vegetables
2. Goat cheese and dates stuffed chicken breast with orange gastrique, roasted potatoes and vegetables
3. Fresh ravioli with jalapeno rosemary cream cause
4. Peppered garlic prawns with citrus risotto, seasonal vegetables
5. Veal schnitzel (Viennese stle), potatoes and seasonal vegetables
6. Surprise!

Dessert:
Surprise!

So we could expect a lot of surprises!!
Bob took the safe choice of tenderloin and Ayoe was more daring and went all out with three surprise dishes.

Then our waiter came to get us to show us (no pun intended) to our table. We first asked to go to the washroom, which fortunately had a tiny bit of dimmed light so we could see where the toilet was, phew.

To get there we walked in a row with our hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us. Our waiter guided us, left right, turn, under a curtain, ta da, here is the washroom, I’ll come and get you shortly and then he left us in the dark.

He did come back to get us and took us to our table. We sat down and felt our way around the table, which was round, probably for safety reasons so no one would walk into a sharp corner. We sat close to a wall, but there were people all around us and we could hear a buzzing of people chatting away. We got comfortable, and waited for the first course to arrive. Our waiter brought water and a basket with bread for us. He told us we had butter on our plate and the knife was on the right side. Scrambling around trying to open the butter, finding the knife, spreading some butter on the bread, not knowing how much or how little actually made it to the bread, we ate our first bites in the dark.

It was weird and awesome at the same time. Definitely a challenge and a realization that people who are vision impaired or blind do this on a daily basis. It opens up your mind to see how other people live their life, or at least a small portion of their life. It was very interesting.

Then the starter arrived, and having no idea what to expect we both felt the plate with our hands to figure out how big the plate was, and if it was soup, salad or something completely different. We managed to get a few bites on the fork and tried it. It was some sort of salad with beets, mushrooms and apple, seeds or nut, we guessed pine nuts, and a spicy dressing, we guessed something with wasabi.

It looked like this and tasted delicious:

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The main course was to Bob a bit of a relief since he knew what he was getting. Ayoe was in deep water once again and had to carefully take a few bites to determine what was on the plate. At first she guessed it was some sort of super tender lamb but then changed her mind to fish instead. There was some herb and lemon risotto with carrots, beets and green beans to accompany the fish. It was very tasty and tender. Both of us had a bit of trouble getting the food onto our forks and manage to get the whole thing all the way up to our mouths. After a while we felt we were pretty confident so we even tried feeding each other a piece of our food. It was a success!!

Here’s what the main course looked like:

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You know how sometimes when we eat, we save a bit of our favourite food on the plate for last, to just sort of savour the flavour and enjoy it as the last bite? Not here, how could we? Bob thought he had saved a piece of tenderloin for last, little did he know, till he took a bite, that it was in fact a potato. Ayoe thought she had saved a piece of fish, only to end up with a green bean entering her mouth sideways.
Knowing when we were done with the dish was a bit tricky, we had to feel with our hands all around the plate to make sure nothing was left. We might have made a slight mess, but who could tell?

Dessert was again a surprise to both os us and we quickly figured out that it was some sort of cake. Mmmm chocolate cake with creamy place on top. Yummy, yummy!

Dessert looked like this:

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It felt pretty big on the plate, but after very few moments it was gone.

It was interesting to experience eating and just going on a date without any visual stimuli. We both agreed that it was great because there were no distractions in terms of phones, cameras etc. that people often look at or text on or take pictures with. It was actually a relief that this element had been taken out. We felt that we could just focus on each other and on the food. We also both felt that having no vision enhanced our other senses. We could smell, taste and hear better.

This was real quality time!
We would definitely recommend trying this type of dining to anyone. Sure we were a bit nervous in the beginning but it was great and a fun experience.

Here is a link to the Dark Table restaurant we went to in Vancouver

There are several other restaurants around the world with the same concept, so lots of options even if you are not from Vancouver.

-Enjoy!

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