You know that age-old saying ‘the blind guiding the blind’? Well, despite its negative connotations (the proverb translates as: ‘someone who is not capable of dealing with a situation guiding someone else who is equally not capable of dealing with it’), the now global team behind Dans Le Noir restaurants decided to turn this metaphor into a dining phenomenon. And with much success, it seems. Despite Dans le Noir’s New York City restaurant closing due to a lack of visitors (as it states on their website newyork.danslenoir.com/closed.html) the group now has pop-ups in Moscow, Bangkok and Warsaw, along with permanent restaurants in Paris, Barcelona, St Petersburg and, London, which recently appeared in Richard Curtis’ new film About Time (British rom-com, featuring Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, out in cinemas now, etc, etc).
While not Michelin-rated, its new film-star status will probably result in a mass influx of intrigued gourmands descending upon the Holborn-based eatery. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to give you the lowdown. What’s all the fuss about? Well, good or bad, Dans le Noir does provide one hell of a unique dining experience: guests are blindfolded while eating and, here’s the really interesting part, served by blind staff!
Founded by Edouard de Broglie, a specialist of innovation and social responsibility, in 2004 to raise awareness about disability in Europe, the idea behind the concept is that by suppressing the dominant sense – sight – diners will enter into a world of uncertainty, heightening their experience and simultaneously, their taste buds. What’s more, it’s something of a fine-dining affair: the food served at Dans le Noir is mostly organic and based on high quality ingredients. And at around £70 a pop for one of its surprise tasting menus – Chef’s surprise, Fish and seafood lovers, For vegetarians, For meat-eaters – you’d certainly expect it to be.
Anyone really wanting to try out the experience post watching Richard Curtis’ film can also acquaint themselves with the team on Dans le Noir London’s website london.danslenoir.com/team.en.html. Let’s just hope they get to share Richard’s Grammy (call us optimistic) if this new wave of interest doesn’t result in a culinary award…