It sounds like it was quite an extraordinary experience.
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Dans Le Noir
30 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU
- Farringdon Station (0.3 km)
- Barbican Tube Station (0.7 km)
- City Thameslink Station (1.0 km)
- Contact us:
020 3217 2072
18 reviews of Dans Le Noir in English
The food was ok, but I found I had to eat it with my hands, or at least find the food with my hands, so perhaps the food should be prepared as dishes rather than meat, carbs, veg etc.
You're packed in ridiculously tight with your fellow diners and as such feel slightly aware that all you need is the people next to you to stop talking and your conversation is open to all ears.
It's good fun, but I wouldn't go with more than one other person.
This is best described as a novelty experience rather than a culinary delight. You’re led into a pitch black environment, completely devoid of sight, and guided to your table. You are consequently rooted in your chair for several hours whilst the food and drink is served, and then led back out into the light, blinking, when the ordeal is finally over.
The food was absolutely vile, and my stomach is still doing somersaults on the morning after the night before. Our party had a tuna and swordfish sashimi for starters, then a medley of crocodile, bison and springbok for the main, and a raspberry mouse for dessert. The wine was, well, slightly more palatable than vinegar.
Also, having a conversation is deafening. Without the typical visual cues of body language and facial expressions, you’re reduced to shouting across the room in the general direction of where you think your companions are seated. I had to steal other people’s drinks under cover of darkness to maintain my composure.
On the plus side, the serving staff were excellent. They were courteous, efficient, and entirely professional, never more so than when I pleaded to be taken out of the room so I could go for a pee. Meanwhile, upstairs in the (lighted) cocktail bar, the barman mixes drinks with painstaking attention to detail, and if I was in the mood to leave a tip he’d have received the lion’s share.
I loved the experience of eating in the pitch black room.
When it came to paying the bill it was too complex for the manager to let us each pay for what we ate so a friend paid for it all. It turned out they had charged us for 10 rather than 9 mains and for 2 cocktails we did not drink. The guy paid up when we went back to complain but his attitude was appaling. His mannor was that of a confidence trickster so I feel sure he had done this sort of thing before.
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As a restaurant, this place is rubbish. As a novelty experience it's not bad... but that only earns it 2 stars in my book.
The food is mediocre at best. Sure it helps blind people and that's all well and good, but I resent being charged £30 for something that tastes like a Tesco Value salad just because it's in the dark and served by blind people.
And then they have the cheek to ask for a tip.
It's such a shame because this would be a 4 or 5 star review if the food had been any good.
Nervous excitement best describes the feeling that fluttered over me before we walked through the black curtains into the unfathomably dark restaurant.
Right hand on the shoulder in front, as per our blind waiter Thomas’ instructions, we were led into the pitch dark. The blind leading the (temporarily) blind.
With my hand placed on the back of my chair, I fumbled around to find the seat and avoid the early embarrassment of sitting on the floor.
Thomas nimbly assisted us in helping us locate our glasses and cutlery. It took us significantly longer to figure out where we all were in relation to one another.
It seemed incredibly noisy and very difficult to hear each other to begin with. Without being able to see each other’s faces and expressions we had to lean in and concentrate on the words and tone.
Social etiquette can easily be left at the door here….eat with your mouth open, yawn widely, scratch….who cares?! ☺
I had been coerced into going for the 3-course Chef’s surprise white menu (£44 each) with a surprise white wine. This translates into anything goes. Eek.
The drinks arrived together with instructions on how to pour. An immediate spillage of water ensued.
Food next. Figuring out how to use cutlery, how not to lose the cutlery, what the food is and where the food actually is on the plate is all part of the fun. Table manners go out the window and it’s a sauce-spilling, dressing-dripping, finger-food extravaganza. You don’t go here for the gourmet cuisine.
The starter was not quite the plain, meaty fish & salad we thought, but lobster, leeks and rocket salad. Plus caviar on the edge of the plate, which we all missed!
The main seemed simpler - beef, pork, crackling, roast spuds, some kind of fish sauce and citrus dressing. Surf & Turf perhaps?
Oh no…. zebra, kangaroo, crispy Parma ham, roast potatoes and anchovies! Good grief. * feels guilty *
The dessert, the nicest of the courses was a lemon mousse (err, posset) with an ice cream filled chocolate, shortbread and figs (not peaches at all).
Best story of the evening? Apparently Wills & Kate went there one evening, via a side entrance, and dined in perfect anonymity!
You can’t fault this place for the experience. It’s humbling to realise how sighted people take their vision for granted. It was an incredible, one-time experience. And challenging too. Well, aside from the wine pouring. Turns out I can do that with my eyes closed after all.
It's pretty rare for me to come out of a restaurant to shout 'sensory overload' while rubbing my eyes with jaded glee! However, this was certainly my experience upon leaving such a fascinating concept restaurant, which surpassed my already high expectations. First off, my date and I were led to a series of lockers where were asked to leave our belongings and venture into the darkness.
We both opted for the 'not-for vegetarians' surprise menu. Later when quizzed on what we ate, I said veal, the waitress said ostrich...I said chutney, she said goat's cheese. But you know what, the experience itself was so utterly delicious the food really wasn't the main attraction ;-)
Ben our blind waiter was perfectly attentive, as two tumblers of white and red wine were delivered with a deft tap of the shoulder. The only question you need to ask yourself is...should I scoop the mash with my hands, or opt for an ever-vanishing fork? My date and I differed on this approach, with rather enchanting conclusions...pitch black has never been so illuminating!
At the risk of sounding like an echo - great experience, below average food. I have no doubt if I had seen my plate of food I would have been calling the Head Waiter over to question how on earth the two courses I received could cost £32. Was also expecting (as a reviewer above) for my taste buds to be tingled as part of the experience but sadly no. That said our waiter was a star - Ashor - and rescued one of our party from eating a meal that she had been served despite specifying her allergic reaction to some of the ingredients.
Some things you have to do once just to have done them - this is one - go have fun and tick it off your list!!!
I was really excited about this concept. I was looking for something special, a once off kind of gift, and I figured I couldn’t go wrong with dinner sans light…
I was right too- it is a once off. It is an incredible experience, however I have to agree that the food wasn’t amazing enough for me to want to come and brave the dark for more. I ordered the seafood surprise (it had to be a surprise by the way, I would never normally order something that undefined!) and my partner got the Chef’s surprise.
The thing was, for me the food was average. Which is such a shame, as you would think, in the dark, that your senses are heightened, so the smells and taste would be more refined. I really thought their menu would have taken advantage of that. As for the Chef’s surprise, I think the surprise was that you were to be given a meal so rich in flavours that you would have to struggle. I swear with a little more refinement this place could be amazing. After all the draw-cards are fab: dinner in total darkness, seated with strangers, allowing you for a legitimate oral voyeurism. A highly skilled blind waiter who is better than most waiters I’ve ever had before. Plus a unique opportunity to eat with your fingers literally in front of someone else, without them seeing the gory details.
I just hope they add a bit of polish to this amazing conceptual restaurant.
First of all - you order from a 'surprise menu’ and inform the kitchen what you’re allergic to. The restaurant is entirely pitch black ( even with your eyes wide open ) and all the waiters are blind. You’ll have to rely ( and you will slowly adapt to ) on all your other senses to help you eat your dinner and feel your meal (literally) - after a while, the room realy came alive as I built up a vision of the space with just the sounds of the chattering in the background. It’s quite an experience and you really do go for the experience, just don’t expect great food and you’ll be ok.
I agree with previous reviewers. This is a place to go for the experience rather than the food. You will find yourself eating some rather bizarre flavour combinations but the most important thing is that you will be eating in complete darkness. You will never have experienced darkeness like this before it is so dark that your eyes hurt!
Very interesting night out and gives you some perspective as to what it would be like to be a blind person (I was so impressed by our blind waiter). However I think it is a one off experience.
Whata wonderful experience!
After choosing our meal (there are 3 set menus to choose from, Red: Meat or chicken, Green : Vegetrian and blus: seafood) we were giuded by our blind waiter to the dining room which was piched dark after going through 3 sets of curtains.
Inside there, we felt like we were the blind ones and the waiter is the one who could see! when the food arrived, forks and knives jumped out of the window and we started eating with our own hands!
we shared the tab;e with another couple which we didn’t meet before hand and the conversation started to get casual so quickly that you wouldn’t do in a lit restaurant.
The food was great, but, we didn’t waht we were eating. You have got to rely on the feel of the pieces and the texture with taste to guess what it is.
after the meal, they will ask you to guess what you have eaten and then they show you the menu, and what a suprise!! What we thought was potato chips, truned out to be celeriac chips!
Price wise, it was £79.00 for both of us.
It is a must visit place, like the pyramids, at least once in your life time!
Well, this was certainly a unique experience. I took my girlfriend there as a treat after reading about it, and I must say it lived up to expectation.
When we arrived we were given an introduction to the restaurant, told all about the dining in the dark experience and invited to wait in the bar until they were ready (about 15-20 mins).
We visited the little bar upstairs which was very tasteful, the drinks weren’t cheap in general but the mystery cocktails they do for around £8 are recommended! Here they took our order and were very accomodating here, my girlfriend isn’t able to eat some meat/dairy, which they took into account.
After a short while we were told that our table was ready, and taken to the entrance to the dining area where we were introduced to our waiter. We were led to our table with some other people, making a train of people by holding onto the person in front. Once we were in and sat down, I was rather surprised to find the other couple sitting right next to us on the same table, I couldn’t tell how far they were away as it really is pitch black in there, your eyes don’t adjust to it so you can see, which is a very strange and can be worrying at first! We were joined by another couple slightly into the meal as well, this was odd but the people we were next to were lovely and meeting them outside was interesting as we had no idea what they looked like!
The food we had was very nice, I remember having some venison, foie gras and ostrich, so you have to be prepared for some interesting flavours and textures, I think the sensory depravation does make you appreciate the food more.
It can get very loud in the restaurant as people compensate for the dark by speaking louder, the waiters did ask everyone to quieten down a few times which was appreciated.
We had a great time here, it was a bit pricey (£120 for 2 of us) but it was an experience I’ll never forget, I wouldn’t recommend it if you think you might be uncomfortable with the darkness though, as the only way out is to leave!
I’d heard about Dans Le Noir and had wanted to go for a while so was really excited when my friend organised a big girly dinner there. For those that don’t know (French) the premise is you eat dinner in the dark! You choose a menu option before hand from meat, fish, vege and can also let it know about special dietary requirements. All the waiters in the restaurant are blind which in itself is amazing to a fully sighted person.
The time slots are pretty strict but you get plenty of time to eat dinner. After meeting in the reception you’re led into the restaurant in a long conga line by the blind waiter. The order you go in will depend on what menu you have so they know where you’re sitting. They direct you to your seats and let you know where the wine, bread etc is. It’s one of the weirdest most interesting experiences I’ve ever had. You really are in absolute pitch darkness. We soon gave up eating with knives and fork and opted for fingers because it was so much easier! I was the only vege in the group so I missed out comparing and trying to figure out what we were eating. When you come out they show you a menu of what you had.
I would definitely recommend going in a group of more than two as it’s more fun. Not being able to see is surprisingly tiring. It was a real effort to listen to waht everyone was saying especially as we were in a big group. It’s amazing ow much you rely on sight cues!
Prices are very reasonable and the actu food was very good but not amazing. We paid about £20 for two courses. All in all an experience I would highly recommend!
After overhearing a conversation in an elevator once about how amazing this restaurant was I have been wanting to try it ever since. The first thought that springs to mind is but how the hell can you eat in the dark? So I finally got to try it last night and see or not see as it were for myself.
I sampled one of the cocktails first in the lit bar, i tried the Dans le Noir (£8.50) which was raspberry puree, vodka, Chambord, splash orange juice topped up with Laurent Perrier Brut with a blackberry on top. As me and my friend waited for the 9 o clock sitting the bar got busier and the people from the previous sitting poured out of the hall rubbing their eyes, some laughing, some looking very confused.
At 9 we were introduced to our blind waiter Mona who told us to form a line and to place our hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us as she led us down the dimly lit hall, through two sets of curtains into complete darkness.
We both ordered the white surprise menu and we were handed a plate of what we thought was just meat at first but as we explored the plate further we found some rice and veg. It was difficult to cut the food and it was a little cold which was disappointing.
The dessert was a blueberry mouse and vanilla custard (there is probably some fancy name for it but thats what it was basically) I enjoyed it, but i was expecting more for the price at £29 per person. But It was a great experience that i am glad to have tried.
Comment 1 comment on this review
gohn, 17 October 2008:
You’d be hard pushed to find a more unique gastronomic experience and I’m not just talking about the food. It’s the whole package. You walk into the bar area and are handed a menu with the option of either a complete surprise, a surpise without fish or vegetarian option. This delightful experience is not for the fussy eater as you have no idea what you are about to eat. Then a blind waiter (yes you read that correctly) greets you and holds the first person’s hand and a small group of unsuspecting diners hold each other’s shoulders nervously like a train and are led into the pitch black dining area. You really can’t see your hand in front of you. How many times can you honestly say in a lifetime that you are at the completely mercy of a blind person? I have always admired people with a sight disability but gaining a tiny idea of what it’s really like, I have nothing but admiration for these guys. And the waiters are incredible; funny, happy and incredible service. No-one was injured, stabbed with cutlery or any other mishap. I would advise eating with your hands to really gain full benefit of this experience and pouring your drinks is amusing. I can honestly say I didn’t want to leave at the end of the meal. Oh and the fun part, eating your food and trying to guess what it is. It’s incredible just how wrong you can be, even though your other sense are heightened. You are then led back out into the lit bar area and presented with a menu of what you ate. My boyfriend was shocked to read that he had venison and ostrich and I was given lamb and duck. The menu changes all the time, so there’s no cheating if you plump for another visit. It is a little pricey but well worth it for a memorable, lifetime experience.
Dans Le Noir is unique. I can promise you that you've never had a dining experience like it!
Dans Le Noir (In the Dark) is a restaurant where you literally dine in the pitch black. When you get there you can have a drink at the bar although it's pretty pricey- £7 for a vodka and diet coke! When your table is ready your waiter/waitress will come out and be introduced to you. Now, this is where it gets interesting: all the waiting staff are blind. You are then asked to hold on to each other's shoulders as you led into the dining area. It is such a bizarre experience walking into the pitch black like that and, for me, I found it a bit uncomfortable. From then on your waiter is your guide, telling you where the glasses and cutlery are on the table and seating you.
Now, there is no set menu. You can specify whether you want meat, fish or a vegetarian option, but other than that there could be anything on your plate. To start I had lamb with gravy, roast potatoes and cabbage, and I ate it all with my fingers! I just couldn't grasp the concept of using a knife and fork in the dark, but I'm sure that it was just me being an idiot. I managed to use a spoon for the dessert :)
I have to say that I'm not sure if I'd go to Dans Le Noir. The food was reasonably priced- £30 for two courses and £40 for three-and the staff were absolutely fantastic, but now that I've been there and done it it doesn't have the novelty value that it did before! However I really would recommend it as something completely different and something you're not going to find anywhere else in London! Also, it really gives an insight into the way that blind people live their lives and they do donate a lot of money to the RNIB.
Oh yes, and if you need the toilet then go before the meal! The staff will take you out but they say it ruins the experience.
So overall it's a thumbs up for Dans Le Noir!
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