Traditionelle opskrifter

Spise i mørket

Spise i mørket

Hvor meget ved du egentlig om mad? Kan du fortælle svinekød fra oksekød? Bison -tunge fra kylling? Det kan du bestemt, når menuen fortæller dig, hvad du spiser, og dine øjne bekræfter det, men hvad sker der, når du styrter ned i mørket og får en tallerken ukendt mad? Det kan være hvad som helst. Gættespillet begynder, og alt vender på hovedet.

Se Spisning i det mørke diasshow

I løbet af det sidste årti er der dukket op en håndfuld restauranter rundt om i verden, der giver diners mulighed for at udforske madverdenen med alle sanser, men ikke kun synet. Men vores smagsløg fortæller os sikkert, hvad vi skal vide, ikke sandt? Det viser sig, ikke så meget.

Nogle af disse restauranter slukker lyset, mens andre bind for øjnene. Servere kan være svagtseende eller bære nattesynsbriller. Nogle steder fortæller du, hvad du spiser på forhånd, men de fleste gør det ikke. Ingen tillader kiggeri eller lys af nogen art - mobiltelefoner tjekkes ved døren - og nogle vil ikke engang have dig til at gå på toilettet under måltidet, desto bedre er det at koncentrere sig.

Og koncentrer dig skal du. Du vil blive overrasket over, hvor meget menuer og syn informerer om opfattelsen af ​​smag - når det kan være alt, hvad som helst du smager, hvordan ved du hvad det er? Restauranter har det sjovt med denne forestilling og sender dine sanser topsy turvy med tricks, der får dig til at tro, at du drikker en sur ale med ingefær, når det faktisk er en Michelada Cubana (Negra Modelo med salsa, Worcestershire sauce og lime). Din forret kan indeholde blåbær, og din dessert kan være fyldt med majs og spidskommen, men du ville aldrig gætte - det gjorde jeg i hvert fald ikke ved en nylig Lights Out -middag i Louisville, Ky. Maya Café, en uddannelsesmæssig oplevelse, der er vært i forbindelse med Idea Festival.

Jeg blev bind for øjnene, og efter at have kommet mig efter min første desorientering efter midlertidigt synstab, vendte jeg min opmærksomhed mod at tyde, hvad der var på min tallerken. Jeg opgav hurtigt mit sølvtøj. Lydstyrken i rummet steg da spisende omkring mig begyndte at gætte højt om hvad der var på deres tallerkener. Efter hvert kursus præsenterede kokken tallerkenerne med en opblomstring, da vi fik lov til midlertidigt at piske vores bind for øjnene. De fleste spisesteder var bedøvet over at finde ud af, at deres gæt ikke engang var tæt på. Jeg tror, ​​det var sådan kokken kunne lide det.


Spise i mørket

Da det tidlige forårssolskin varmede mine kinder, føltes det endnu mere unaturligt at ville gemme mig væk i den kulinariske ækvivalent af et fotografisk mørkt rum for at forkæle Londons seneste gastrooplevelse. Men denne frokosttid havde jeg det privilegium at være den første kunde hos Dans Le Noir, et nyt og udfordrende spisested i Farringdon.

Diners spiser (eller forsøger at) i absolut mørke - mobiltelefoner og endda digitale ure skal stå udenfor - og bliver fysisk guidet rundt og betjent af synshandicappede. Ideen er at øge bevidstheden om blindhed og vende bord på samfundets holdning til handicap. Fuldsynede besøgende skal sætte al deres tiltro til personalet, der ses som dårligt stillede i omverdenen, men har overtaget her ved at kende deres vej rundt om hver tomme af restauranten.

Jeg spekulerede på, om ikke at se maden eller dens præsentation ville påvirke min appetit og min nydelse af måltidet. Og ville det virkelig være muligt at få en ordentlig indhentning af en ven over frokosten, når jeg ikke engang kunne se hendes ansigt? Da min spisekammerat er stærkt gravid, vil tjenerne blive præsenteret for de ekstra udfordringer ved hyppigere (eskorterede) besøg hos damerne, et forbud mod råæg, gedeost og lignende, og det er vigtigt ikke at støde os til noget på vej rundt i spisestuen.

Efter at have lagt vores ordre og låst vores frakker, tasker og telefoner i det fuldt oplyste barområde, blev vi ført og holdt hinanden i skuldrene ned ad en svagt oplyst gang. De lejlighedsvise røde loftlamper var designet til at forberede vores øjne på den totale mørklægning af spisestuen. Nu er jeg ikke klaustrofobisk, men jeg indrømmer at have følt mig lidt syg, da vi blev ført gennem de tykke sorte gardiner og opfordret til at famle efter vores stole. Alt bordtøj var lige foran os - et sted. Men hvilket var vinglasset, og hvor i alverden var brødet?

Meget akavet fnisende og selvbevidst samtale fulgte, og jeg spekulerede på, hvordan det i alverden ville være at holde en sand blind date her. Da vi famlede rundt og forsøgte at hælde vandet ud og stikke i brødet, fik vi gradvist lejer, men vi tog konstant hinandens glas. En kollega havde foreslået, at jeg tog en hagesmæk med, og jeg begyndte at tro, at han måske havde en pointe.

Vi havde valgt den ultimative udfordring i overraskelsesmenuen, så vi skulle gætte, hvad hver ret var, der lurede et sted lige frem. Forretterne var lette - dejlige sprøde asparges, som kunne tages op og skovles ind med lidt tørring af hænder for at fjerne den slimede hollandaisesauce. Jeg flirtede kort med en gaffel, men blev ved med at få den på hovedet, så jeg faldt redskaber ned. Der er en barnslig sjov ved at stikke fingrene over hele tallerkenen og mærke de forskellige temperaturer og teksturer.

Hovedretten var vanskeligere, men lige så lækker: Jeg gættede torsk (det var brasen) og identificerede en stor stor sjusket bid som et stykke aubergine. Jeg trodsede bestik, til stor for min vens afsky, og jeg fandt en kombineret scooping af gaffel fra venstre og kniv fra højre var bedst, når jeg angreb en bunke kartofler dauphinoise. Jeg begyndte at slappe af og miste den betænkelige rutsjebanefølelse, men det føltes stadig underligt at tale om den sædvanlige sladder i sådanne uvante omgivelser og i den øgede hørelse af medspisende.

Personalet siger, at et fænomen i deres søsterrestaurant i Paris, som har været åbent i 18 måneder, er, at spisende gæster mister deres forforståelser og hæmninger og slår en snak med naboer længere nede på de lange bænkborde. Heldigvis for dem var de andre tilstedeværende spisende i dag ikke inden for rækkevidde af vores akavede vinhældning eller fiskesnurrer, men jeg kan se, at jeg ved at have hentet og svulmet fra en nabos vinglas ved en fejl ville være mere klar til at præsentere mig selv og undskylde.

Dessert var en dejlig æble tarte tatin ledsaget af en mystisk duftende is. Kan det være mynte eller eukalyptus? Jeg kunne ikke placere det og ville aldrig have gættet lavendel, men var glad nok ved hjælp af en knibeteknik med ske og fingre til at få det til min mund.

Vi havde overlevet uden for meget spild, og det var på tide at gå - men hvordan skulle vi komme ud? Svaret var at kalde en af ​​tjenerne til en skulderledet exit. Heldigvis tilbage i dagslyset reflekterede jeg over den samlede oplevelse. Var dette bare endnu en gimmick?

Utvivlsomt giver Dans Le Noir (fransk for "In the dark") en ny madoplevelse, men jeg var glad for, at jeg havde deltaget i udfordringen. Jeg havde en langt større påskønnelse af liv ført permanent i mørket, men havde også spist et lækkert måltid.

Konceptet middag i mørket går tilbage til 1700 -tallet, ifølge grundlæggeren af ​​kæden Edouard de Broglie, da velgørende fonde organiserede dem i Frankrig og Schweiz for at fremme bevidsthed om blindhed. I de sidste 18 måneder har omkring 60.000 spisende gæster passeret hans Paris -restaurants tunge gardiner, lige fra studerende til den franske premierminister. Mange blinde mennesker har også besøgt deres familier, siger han for at dele deres oplevelse af livet i mørke.

Men De Broglie understreger, at selvom hans restauranter vil donere 10% af deres årlige overskud til velgørende formål, er hans mål at bevise, at konventionelle virksomheder faktisk kan tjene penge ved at ansætte handicappet personale frem for at levere velgørenhed. "Dette er ikke en velgørende organisation, og det er vi stolte af," fortalte han mig. "Blinde mennesker kommer ikke her for velgørenhed, de kommer for ordentligt arbejde."


Spise i mørket

Da det tidlige forårssolskin varmede mine kinder, føltes det endnu mere unaturligt at ville gemme mig væk i den kulinariske ækvivalent af et fotografisk mørkt rum for at forkæle Londons seneste gastrooplevelse. Men denne frokosttid havde jeg det privilegium at være den første kunde hos Dans Le Noir, et nyt og udfordrende spisested i Farringdon.

Diners spiser (eller forsøger at) i absolut mørke - mobiltelefoner og endda digitale ure skal stå udenfor - og bliver fysisk guidet rundt og betjent af synshandicappede. Ideen er at øge bevidstheden om blindhed og vende bord på samfundets holdning til handicap. Fuldsynede besøgende skal sætte al deres tiltro til personalet, der ses som dårligt stillede i omverdenen, men har overtaget her ved at kende deres vej rundt om hver tomme af restauranten.

Jeg spekulerede på, om ikke at se maden eller dens præsentation ville påvirke min appetit og min nydelse af måltidet. Og ville det virkelig være muligt at få en ordentlig indhentning af en ven over frokosten, når jeg ikke engang kunne se hendes ansigt? Da min spisekammerat er stærkt gravid, vil tjenerne blive præsenteret for de ekstra udfordringer ved hyppigere (eskorterede) besøg hos damerne, et forbud mod rå æg, gedeost og lignende, og det er vigtigt ikke at støde os til noget på vej rundt i spisestuen.

Efter at have lagt vores ordre og låst vores frakker, tasker og telefoner i det fuldt oplyste barområde, blev vi ført og holdt hinanden i skuldrene ned ad en svagt oplyst gang. De lejlighedsvise røde loftlamper var designet til at forberede vores øjne på den totale mørklægning af spisestuen. Nu er jeg ikke klaustrofobisk, men jeg indrømmer at have følt mig lidt syg, da vi blev ført gennem de tykke sorte gardiner og opfordret til at famle efter vores stole. Alt bordtøj var lige foran os - et sted. Men hvilket var vinglasset, og hvor i alverden var brødet?

Meget akavet fnisende og selvbevidst samtale fulgte, og jeg spekulerede på, hvordan i alverden det ville være at holde en sand blind date her. Da vi famlede rundt og forsøgte at hælde vandet ud og stikke i brødet, fik vi gradvist vores lejer, men vi tog konstant hinandens glas. En kollega havde foreslået, at jeg tog en hagesmæk med, og jeg begyndte at tro, at han måske havde en pointe.

Vi havde valgt den ultimative udfordring i overraskelsesmenuen, så vi skulle gætte, hvad hver ret var, der lurede et sted lige frem. Forretterne var lette - dejlige sprøde asparges, som kunne tages op og skovles ind med lidt tørring af hænder for at fjerne den slimede hollandaisesauce. Jeg flirtede kort med en gaffel, men blev ved med at få den på hovedet, så jeg faldt redskaber ned. Der er en barnslig sjov ved at stikke fingrene over hele tallerkenen og mærke de forskellige temperaturer og teksturer.

Hovedretten var vanskeligere, men lige så lækker: Jeg gættede torsk (det var brasen) og identificerede en stor stor sjusket bid som et stykke aubergine. Jeg trodsede bestik, meget til min vens afsky, og jeg fandt en kombineret scooping af gaffel fra venstre og kniv fra højre var bedst, når jeg angreb en bunke kartofler dauphinoise. Jeg begyndte at slappe af og miste den betænkelige rutsjebanefølelse, men det føltes stadig underligt at tale om den sædvanlige sladder i sådanne uvante omgivelser og i den øgede hørelse af medspisende.

Personalet siger, at et fænomen i deres søsterrestaurant i Paris, som har været åbent i 18 måneder, er, at spisende gæster mister deres forforståelser og hæmninger og slår en snak med naboer længere nede på de lange bænkborde. Heldigvis for dem var de andre tilstedeværende spisende i dag ikke inden for rækkevidde af vores akavede vinhældning eller fiskesnurrer, men jeg kan se, at jeg ved at have hentet og svulmet fra en nabos vinglas ved en fejl ville være mere klar til at præsentere mig selv og undskylde.

Dessert var en dejlig æble tarte tatin ledsaget af en mystisk duftende is. Kan det være mynte eller eukalyptus? Jeg kunne ikke placere det og ville aldrig have gættet lavendel, men var glad nok ved hjælp af en knibeteknik med ske og fingre til at få det til min mund.

Vi havde overlevet uden for meget spild, og det var på tide at gå - men hvordan skulle vi komme ud? Svaret var at kalde en af ​​tjenerne til en skulderledet exit. Heldigvis tilbage i dagslyset reflekterede jeg over den samlede oplevelse. Var dette bare endnu en gimmick?

Utvivlsomt giver Dans Le Noir (fransk for "In the dark") en ny madoplevelse, men jeg var glad for, at jeg havde deltaget i udfordringen. Jeg havde en langt større påskønnelse af liv ført permanent i mørket, men havde også spist et lækkert måltid.

Konceptet middag i mørket går tilbage til 1700 -tallet, ifølge grundlæggeren af ​​kæden Edouard de Broglie, da velgørende fonde organiserede dem i Frankrig og Schweiz for at fremme bevidsthed om blindhed. I de sidste 18 måneder har omkring 60.000 spisende gæster passeret hans Paris -restaurants tunge gardiner, lige fra studerende til den franske premierminister. Mange blinde mennesker har også besøgt deres familier, siger han for at dele deres oplevelse af livet i mørke.

Men De Broglie understreger, at selvom hans restauranter vil donere 10% af deres årlige overskud til velgørende formål, er hans mål at bevise, at konventionelle virksomheder faktisk kan tjene penge ved at ansætte handicappet personale frem for at levere velgørenhed. "Dette er ikke en velgørende organisation, og det er vi stolte af," fortalte han mig. "Blinde mennesker kommer ikke her for velgørenhed, de kommer for ordentligt arbejde."


Spise i mørket

Da det tidlige forårssolskin varmede mine kinder, føltes det endnu mere unaturligt at ville gemme mig væk i den kulinariske ækvivalent af et fotografisk mørkt rum for at forkæle Londons seneste gastrooplevelse. Men denne frokosttid havde jeg det privilegium at være den første kunde hos Dans Le Noir, et nyt og udfordrende spisested i Farringdon.

Diners spiser (eller forsøger at) i absolut mørke - mobiltelefoner og endda digitale ure skal stå udenfor - og bliver fysisk guidet rundt og betjent af synshandicappede. Ideen er at øge bevidstheden om blindhed og vende bord på samfundets holdning til handicap. Fuldsynede besøgende skal sætte al deres tiltro til personalet, der ses som dårligt stillede i omverdenen, men har overtaget her ved at kende sig rundt i hver tomme af restauranten.

Jeg spekulerede på, om ikke at se maden eller dens præsentation ville påvirke min appetit og min nydelse af måltidet. Og ville det virkelig være muligt at få en ordentlig indhentning af en ven over frokosten, når jeg ikke engang kunne se hendes ansigt? Da min spisekammerat er stærkt gravid, vil tjenerne blive præsenteret for de ekstra udfordringer ved hyppigere (eskorterede) besøg hos damerne, et forbud mod råæg, gedeost og lignende, og det er vigtigt ikke at støde os til noget på vej rundt i spisestuen.

Efter at have lagt vores ordre og låst vores frakker, tasker og telefoner i det fuldt oplyste barområde, blev vi ført og holdt hinanden i skuldrene ned ad en svagt oplyst gang. De lejlighedsvise røde loftlamper var designet til at forberede vores øjne på den totale mørklægning af spisestuen. Nu er jeg ikke klaustrofobisk, men jeg indrømmer at have følt mig lidt syg, da vi blev ført gennem de tykke sorte gardiner og opfordret til at famle efter vores stole. Alt bordtøj var lige foran os - et sted. Men hvilket var vinglasset, og hvor i alverden var brødet?

Meget akavet fnisende og selvbevidst samtale fulgte, og jeg spekulerede på, hvordan i alverden det ville være at holde en sand blind date her. Da vi famlede rundt og forsøgte at hælde vandet ud og stikke i brødet, fik vi gradvist vores lejer, men vi tog konstant hinandens glas. En kollega havde foreslået, at jeg tog en hagesmæk med, og jeg begyndte at tro, at han måske havde en pointe.

Vi havde valgt den ultimative udfordring i overraskelsesmenuen, så vi skulle gætte, hvad hver ret var, der lurede et sted lige frem. Forretterne var lette - dejlige sprøde asparges, som kunne tages op og skovles ind med lidt tørring af hænder for at fjerne den slimede hollandaisesauce. Jeg flirtede kort med en gaffel, men blev ved med at få den på hovedet, så jeg faldt redskaber ned. Der er en barnslig sjov ved at stikke fingrene over hele tallerkenen og mærke de forskellige temperaturer og teksturer.

Hovedretten var vanskeligere, men lige så lækker: Jeg gættede torsk (det var brasen) og identificerede en stor stor sjusket bid som et stykke aubergine. Jeg trodsede bestik, meget til min vens afsky, og jeg fandt en kombineret scooping af gaffel fra venstre og kniv fra højre var bedst, når jeg angreb en bunke kartofler dauphinoise. Jeg begyndte at slappe af og miste den betænkelige rutsjebanefølelse, men det føltes stadig underligt at tale om den sædvanlige sladder i sådanne uvante omgivelser og i den øgede hørelse af medspisende.

Personalet siger, at et fænomen i deres søsterrestaurant i Paris, der har været åbent i 18 måneder, er, at spisende gæster mister deres forforståelser og hæmninger og slår en snak med naboer længere nede på de lange bænkborde. Heldigvis for dem var de andre tilstedeværende spisende i dag ikke inden for rækkevidde af vores akavede vinhældning eller fiskeskud, men jeg kan se, at jeg ved at have hentet og svulmet fra en nabos vinglas ved en fejl ville være mere klar til at præsentere mig selv og undskylde.

Dessert var en dejlig æble tarte tatin ledsaget af en mystisk duftende is. Kan det være mynte eller eukalyptus? Jeg kunne ikke placere det og ville aldrig have gættet lavendel, men var glad nok ved hjælp af en knibeteknik med ske og fingre til at få det til min mund.

Vi havde overlevet uden for meget spild, og det var på tide at gå - men hvordan skulle vi komme ud? Svaret var at kalde en af ​​tjenerne til en skulderledet exit. Heldigvis tilbage i dagslyset reflekterede jeg over den samlede oplevelse. Var dette bare endnu en gimmick?

Utvivlsomt giver Dans Le Noir (fransk for "In the dark") en ny madoplevelse, men jeg var glad for, at jeg havde deltaget i udfordringen. Jeg havde en langt større påskønnelse af liv ført permanent i mørket, men havde også spist et lækkert måltid.

Konceptet middag i mørket går tilbage til 1700 -tallet, ifølge grundlæggeren af ​​kæden Edouard de Broglie, da velgørende fonde organiserede dem i Frankrig og Schweiz for at fremme bevidsthed om blindhed. I de sidste 18 måneder har omkring 60.000 spisende gæster passeret hans Paris -restaurants tunge gardiner, lige fra studerende til den franske premierminister. Mange blinde mennesker har også besøgt deres familier, siger han for at dele deres oplevelse af livet i mørke.

Men De Broglie understreger, at selvom hans restauranter vil donere 10% af deres årlige overskud til velgørende formål, er hans mål at bevise, at konventionelle virksomheder faktisk kan tjene penge ved at ansætte handicappet personale frem for at levere velgørenhed. "Dette er ikke en velgørende organisation, og det er vi stolte af," fortalte han mig. "Blinde mennesker kommer ikke her for velgørenhed, de kommer for ordentligt arbejde."


Spise i mørket

Da det tidlige forårssolskin varmede mine kinder, føltes det endnu mere unaturligt at ville gemme mig væk i den kulinariske ækvivalent af et fotografisk mørkt rum for at forkæle Londons seneste gastrooplevelse. Men denne frokosttid havde jeg det privilegium at være den første kunde hos Dans Le Noir, et nyt og udfordrende spisested i Farringdon.

Diners spiser (eller forsøger at) i absolut mørke - mobiltelefoner og endda digitale ure skal stå udenfor - og bliver fysisk guidet rundt og betjent af synshandicappede. Ideen er at øge bevidstheden om blindhed og vende bord på samfundets holdning til handicap. Fuldsynede besøgende skal sætte al deres tiltro til personalet, der ses som dårligt stillede i omverdenen, men har overtaget her ved at kende sig rundt i hver tomme af restauranten.

Jeg spekulerede på, om ikke at se maden eller dens præsentation ville påvirke min appetit og min nydelse af måltidet. Og ville det virkelig være muligt at få en ordentlig indhentning af en ven over frokosten, når jeg ikke engang kunne se hendes ansigt? Da min spisekammerat er stærkt gravid, vil tjenerne blive præsenteret for de ekstra udfordringer ved hyppigere (eskorterede) besøg hos damerne, et forbud mod råæg, gedeost og lignende, og det er vigtigt ikke at støde os til noget på vej rundt i spisestuen.

Efter at have lagt vores ordre og låst vores frakker, tasker og telefoner i det fuldt oplyste barområde, blev vi ført og holdt hinanden i skuldrene ned ad en svagt oplyst gang. De lejlighedsvise røde loftlamper var designet til at forberede vores øjne på den totale mørklægning af spisestuen. Nu er jeg ikke klaustrofobisk, men jeg indrømmer at have følt mig lidt syg, da vi blev ført gennem de tykke sorte gardiner og opfordret til at famle efter vores stole. Alt bordtøj var lige foran os - et sted. Men hvilket var vinglasset, og hvor i alverden var brødet?

Meget akavet fnisende og selvbevidst samtale fulgte, og jeg spekulerede på, hvordan i alverden det ville være at holde en sand blind date her. Da vi famlede rundt og forsøgte at hælde vandet ud og stikke i brødet, fik vi gradvist vores lejer, men vi tog konstant hinandens glas. En kollega havde foreslået, at jeg tog en hagesmæk med, og jeg begyndte at tro, at han måske havde en pointe.

Vi havde valgt den ultimative udfordring i overraskelsesmenuen, så vi skulle gætte, hvad hver ret var, der lurede et sted lige frem. Forretterne var lette - dejlige sprøde asparges, som kunne tages op og skovles ind med lidt tørring af hænder for at fjerne den slimede hollandaisesauce. Jeg flirtede kort med en gaffel, men blev ved med at få den på hovedet, så jeg faldt redskaber ned. Der er en barnslig sjov ved at stikke fingrene over hele tallerkenen og mærke de forskellige temperaturer og teksturer.

Hovedretten var vanskeligere, men lige så lækker: Jeg gættede torsk (det var brasen) og identificerede en stor stor sjusket bid som et stykke aubergine. Jeg trodsede bestik, meget til min vens afsky, og jeg fandt en kombineret scooping af gaffel fra venstre og kniv fra højre var bedst, når jeg angreb en bunke kartofler dauphinoise. Jeg begyndte at slappe af og miste den betænkelige rutsjebanefølelse, men det føltes stadig underligt at tale om den sædvanlige sladder i sådanne uvante omgivelser og i den øgede hørelse af medspisende.

Personalet siger, at et fænomen i deres søsterrestaurant i Paris, der har været åbent i 18 måneder, er, at spisende gæster mister deres forforståelser og hæmninger og slår en snak med naboer længere nede på de lange bænkborde. Heldigvis for dem var de andre tilstedeværende spisende i dag ikke inden for rækkevidde af vores akavede vinhældning eller fiskeskud, men jeg kan se, at jeg ved at have hentet og svulmet fra en nabos vinglas ved en fejl ville være mere klar til at præsentere mig selv og undskylde.

Dessert var en dejlig æble tarte tatin ledsaget af en mystisk duftende is. Kan det være mynte eller eukalyptus? Jeg kunne ikke placere det og ville aldrig have gættet lavendel, men var glad nok ved hjælp af en knibeteknik med ske og fingre til at få det til min mund.

Vi havde overlevet uden for meget spild, og det var på tide at gå - men hvordan skulle vi komme ud? Svaret var at kalde en af ​​tjenerne til en skulderledet exit. Heldigvis tilbage i dagslyset reflekterede jeg over den samlede oplevelse. Var dette bare endnu en gimmick?

Utvivlsomt giver Dans Le Noir (fransk for "In the dark") en ny madoplevelse, men jeg var glad for, at jeg havde deltaget i udfordringen. Jeg havde en langt større påskønnelse af liv ført permanent i mørket, men havde også spist et lækkert måltid.

Konceptet middag i mørket går tilbage til 1700 -tallet, ifølge grundlæggeren af ​​kæden Edouard de Broglie, da velgørende fonde organiserede dem i Frankrig og Schweiz for at fremme bevidsthed om blindhed. I de sidste 18 måneder har omkring 60.000 spisende gæster passeret hans restaurant i Paris tunge gardiner, lige fra studerende til den franske premierminister. Mange blinde mennesker har også besøgt deres familier, siger han for at dele deres oplevelse af livet i mørke.

Men De Broglie understreger, at selvom hans restauranter vil donere 10% af deres årlige overskud til velgørende formål, er hans mål at bevise, at konventionelle virksomheder faktisk kan tjene penge ved at ansætte handicappet personale frem for at levere velgørenhed. "Dette er ikke en velgørende organisation, og det er vi stolte af," fortalte han mig. "Blinde mennesker kommer ikke her for velgørenhed, de kommer for ordentligt arbejde."


Spise i mørket

Da det tidlige forårssolskin varmede mine kinder, føltes det endnu mere unaturligt at ville gemme mig væk i den kulinariske ækvivalent af et fotografisk mørkt rum for at forkæle Londons seneste gastrooplevelse. Men denne frokosttid havde jeg det privilegium at være den første kunde hos Dans Le Noir, et nyt og udfordrende spisested i Farringdon.

Diners spiser (eller forsøger at) i absolut mørke - mobiltelefoner og endda digitale ure skal stå udenfor - og bliver fysisk guidet rundt og betjent af synshandicappede. Ideen er at øge bevidstheden om blindhed og vende bord på samfundets holdning til handicap. Fuldsynede besøgende skal sætte al deres tiltro til personalet, der ses som dårligt stillede i omverdenen, men har overtaget her ved at kende deres vej rundt om hver tomme af restauranten.

Jeg spekulerede på, om ikke at se maden eller dens præsentation ville påvirke min appetit og min nydelse af måltidet. Og ville det virkelig være muligt at få en ordentlig indhentning af en ven over frokosten, når jeg ikke engang kunne se hendes ansigt? Da min spisekammerat er stærkt gravid, vil tjenerne blive præsenteret for de ekstra udfordringer ved hyppigere (eskorterede) besøg hos damerne, et forbud mod råæg, gedeost og lignende, og det er vigtigt ikke at støde os til noget på vej rundt i spisestuen.

Efter at have lagt vores ordre og låst vores frakker, tasker og telefoner i det fuldt oplyste barområde, blev vi ført og holdt hinanden i skuldrene ned ad en svagt oplyst gang. De lejlighedsvise røde loftlamper var designet til at forberede vores øjne på den totale mørklægning af spisestuen. Nu er jeg ikke klaustrofobisk, men jeg indrømmer at have følt mig lidt syg, da vi blev ført gennem de tykke sorte gardiner og opfordret til at famle efter vores stole. Alt bordtøj var lige foran os - et sted. Men hvilket var vinglasset, og hvor i alverden var brødet?

Meget akavet fnisende og selvbevidst samtale fulgte, og jeg spekulerede på, hvordan i alverden det ville være at holde en sand blind date her. Da vi famlede rundt og forsøgte at hælde vandet ud og stikke i brødet, fik vi gradvist vores lejer, men vi tog konstant hinandens glas. En kollega havde foreslået, at jeg tog en hagesmæk med, og jeg begyndte at tro, at han måske havde en pointe.

Vi havde valgt den ultimative udfordring i overraskelsesmenuen, så vi skulle gætte, hvad hver ret var, der lurede et sted lige frem. Forretterne var lette - dejlige sprøde asparges, som kunne tages op og skovles ind med lidt tørring af hænder for at fjerne den slimede hollandaisesauce. Jeg flirtede kort med en gaffel, men blev ved med at få den på hovedet, så jeg faldt redskaber ned. Der er en barnslig sjov ved at stikke fingrene over hele tallerkenen og mærke de forskellige temperaturer og teksturer.

Hovedretten var vanskeligere, men lige så lækker: Jeg gættede torsk (det var brasen) og identificerede en stor stor sjusket bid som et stykke aubergine. Jeg trodsede bestik, meget til min vens afsky, og jeg fandt en kombineret scooping af gaffel fra venstre og kniv fra højre var bedst, når jeg angreb en bunke kartofler dauphinoise. Jeg begyndte at slappe af og miste den betænkelige rutsjebanefølelse, men det føltes stadig underligt at tale om den sædvanlige sladder i sådanne uvante omgivelser og i den øgede hørelse af medspisende.

Personalet siger, at et fænomen i deres søsterrestaurant i Paris, som har været åbent i 18 måneder, er, at spisende gæster mister deres forforståelser og hæmninger og slår en snak med naboer længere nede på de lange bænkborde. Heldigvis for dem var de andre tilstedeværende spisende i dag ikke inden for rækkevidde af vores akavede vinhældning eller fiskesnurrer, men jeg kan se, at jeg efter at have hentet og svulmet fra en nabos vinglas ved en fejl ville være mere klar til at præsentere mig selv og undskylde.

Dessert var en dejlig æble tarte tatin ledsaget af en mystisk duftende is. Kan det være mynte eller eukalyptus? Jeg kunne ikke placere det og ville aldrig have gættet lavendel, men var glad nok ved hjælp af en knibeteknik med ske og fingre til at få det til min mund.

Vi havde overlevet uden for meget spild, og det var på tide at gå - men hvordan skulle vi komme ud? Svaret var at kalde en af ​​tjenerne til en skulderledet exit. Heldigvis tilbage i dagslyset reflekterede jeg over den samlede oplevelse. Var dette bare endnu en gimmick?

Utvivlsomt giver Dans Le Noir (fransk for "In the dark") en ny madoplevelse, men jeg var glad for, at jeg havde deltaget i udfordringen. Jeg havde en langt større påskønnelse af liv ført permanent i mørket, men havde også spist et lækkert måltid.

Konceptet middag i mørket går tilbage til 1700 -tallet, ifølge grundlæggeren af ​​kæden Edouard de Broglie, da velgørende fonde organiserede dem i Frankrig og Schweiz for at fremme bevidsthed om blindhed. I de sidste 18 måneder har omkring 60.000 spisende gæster passeret hans restaurant i Paris tunge gardiner, lige fra studerende til den franske premierminister. Mange blinde mennesker har også besøgt deres familier, siger han for at dele deres oplevelse af livet i mørke.

Men De Broglie understreger, at selvom hans restauranter vil donere 10% af deres årlige overskud til velgørende formål, er hans mål at bevise, at konventionelle virksomheder faktisk kan tjene penge ved at ansætte handicappet personale frem for at levere velgørenhed. "Dette er ikke en velgørende organisation, og det er vi stolte af," fortalte han mig. "Blinde mennesker kommer ikke her for velgørenhed, de kommer for ordentligt arbejde."


Spise i mørket

Da det tidlige forårssolskin varmede mine kinder, føltes det endnu mere unaturligt at ville gemme mig væk i den kulinariske ækvivalent af et fotografisk mørkt rum for at forkæle Londons seneste gastrooplevelse. Men denne frokosttid havde jeg det privilegium at være den første kunde hos Dans Le Noir, et nyt og udfordrende spisested i Farringdon.

Diners spiser (eller forsøger at) i absolut mørke - mobiltelefoner og endda digitale ure skal stå udenfor - og bliver fysisk guidet rundt og betjent af synshandicappede. Ideen er at øge bevidstheden om blindhed og vende bord på samfundets holdning til handicap. Fuldsynede besøgende skal sætte al deres tiltro til personalet, der ses som dårligt stillede i omverdenen, men har overtaget her ved at kende deres vej rundt om hver tomme af restauranten.

I wondered if not seeing the food or its presentation would affect my appetite and my enjoyment of the meal. And would it really be possible to have a proper catch-up with a friend over lunch when I couldn't even see her face? As my dining companion is heavily pregnant, the waiters would be presented with the additional challenges of more frequent (escorted) visits to the Ladies, a ban on raw eggs, goats' cheese and the like, and the imperative not to bump us into anything en route around the dining room.

After placing our order and locking up our coats, bags and phones in the fully lit bar area, we were led, clutching each other's shoulders, down a dimly lit corridor. The occasional red ceiling lights were designed to prepare our eyes for the total blackout of the dining room. Now I'm not claustrophobic, but I admit to having felt slightly sick as we were led through the thick black curtains and encouraged to grope for our chairs. All the table-top apparel was right in front of us - somewhere. But which was the wine glass and where on earth was the bread?

Much awkward giggling and self-conscious conversation followed and I wondered what on earth it would be like to hold a true blind date here. As we fumbled around attempting to pour out the water and tuck into the bread we gradually got our bearings, but we did constantly pick up each other's glasses. One colleague had suggested I bring a bib along and I was beginning to think he might have a point.

We had opted for the ultimate challenge of the surprise menu, so would have to guess what each dish was, lurking somewhere straight ahead. The starters were easy - lovely crunchy asparagus, which could be picked up and shovelled in with a bit of wiping of hands to remove the slimy hollandaise sauce. I briefly flirted with a fork, but kept getting it upside down, so I downed tools. There is a childlike fun to be had in jabbing your fingers all over the plate, feeling the different temperatures and textures.

The main course was trickier, though just as delicious: I guessed cod (it was bream) and identified a great big sloppy chunk as a slice of aubergine. Braving cutlery, much to my friend's disgust, I found a combined scooping action of fork from the left and knife from the right was best when attacking a pile of potatoes dauphinoise. I was beginning to relax and lose the apprehensive rollercoaster feeling, but it still felt strange to be talking about the usual gossip in such unfamiliar surroundings and in the heightened hearing of fellow diners.

Staff say that one phenomenon in their sister restaurant in Paris, which has been open for 18 months, is that diners lose their preconceptions and inhibitions and strike up conversation with neighbours further down the long bench tables. Luckily for them, the other diners in attendance today were not within range of our awkward wine-pouring or fish flicking, but I can see that having picked up and swilled from a neighbour's wine glass in error I would be more ready to introduce myself and apologise.

Dessert was a lovely apple tarte tatin accompanied by a mysteriously fragrant ice cream. Could it be mint or eucalyptus? I couldn't place it and would never have guessed lavender, but was happy enough using a pincer technique of spoon and fingers to get it to my mouth.

We had survived without too much spillage and it was time to go - but how would we get out? The answer was to call one of the waiters for a shoulder-led exit. Happily back in the daylight, I reflected on the overall experience. Was this just another gimmick?

Undoubtedly Dans Le Noir (French for "In the dark") provides a novelty dining experience but I was glad I had submitted to the challenge. I had a far greater appreciation of lives led permanently in the dark, but had also had a delicious meal.

The concept of dinner in the dark dates back to the 18th century, according to founder of the chain Edouard de Broglie, when charitable foundations organised them in France and Switzerland to promote awareness about blindness. In the last 18 months, some 60,000 diners have passed through his Paris restaurant's heavy curtains, ranging from students to the French prime minister. Many blind people have also visited with their families, he says, to share their experience of life in darkness.

But De Broglie stresses that though his restaurants will donate 10% of their annual profits to charity, his aim is to prove that conventional businesses can actually make money by employing disabled staff rather than providing charity. "This is not a charity and we're proud of that," he told me. "Blind people come don't come here for charity they come for proper work."


Dining in the dark

A s the early spring sunshine warmed my cheeks, it felt even more unnatural to want to closet myself away in the culinary equivalent of a photographic dark room to indulge in London's latest gastro experience. But this lunchtime I had the privilege of being the first customer at Dans Le Noir, a new and challenging eaterie in Farringdon.

Diners eat (or attempt to) in absolute darkness - mobile phones and even digital watches must be left outside - and are physically guided around and served by visually impaired staff. The idea is to raise awareness about blindness and turn the tables on society's attitudes to disability. Fully sighted visitors must put all their faith in the staff, who are seen as disadvantaged in the outside world, but have the upper hand here by knowing their way around every inch of the restaurant.

I wondered if not seeing the food or its presentation would affect my appetite and my enjoyment of the meal. And would it really be possible to have a proper catch-up with a friend over lunch when I couldn't even see her face? As my dining companion is heavily pregnant, the waiters would be presented with the additional challenges of more frequent (escorted) visits to the Ladies, a ban on raw eggs, goats' cheese and the like, and the imperative not to bump us into anything en route around the dining room.

After placing our order and locking up our coats, bags and phones in the fully lit bar area, we were led, clutching each other's shoulders, down a dimly lit corridor. The occasional red ceiling lights were designed to prepare our eyes for the total blackout of the dining room. Now I'm not claustrophobic, but I admit to having felt slightly sick as we were led through the thick black curtains and encouraged to grope for our chairs. All the table-top apparel was right in front of us - somewhere. But which was the wine glass and where on earth was the bread?

Much awkward giggling and self-conscious conversation followed and I wondered what on earth it would be like to hold a true blind date here. As we fumbled around attempting to pour out the water and tuck into the bread we gradually got our bearings, but we did constantly pick up each other's glasses. One colleague had suggested I bring a bib along and I was beginning to think he might have a point.

We had opted for the ultimate challenge of the surprise menu, so would have to guess what each dish was, lurking somewhere straight ahead. The starters were easy - lovely crunchy asparagus, which could be picked up and shovelled in with a bit of wiping of hands to remove the slimy hollandaise sauce. I briefly flirted with a fork, but kept getting it upside down, so I downed tools. There is a childlike fun to be had in jabbing your fingers all over the plate, feeling the different temperatures and textures.

The main course was trickier, though just as delicious: I guessed cod (it was bream) and identified a great big sloppy chunk as a slice of aubergine. Braving cutlery, much to my friend's disgust, I found a combined scooping action of fork from the left and knife from the right was best when attacking a pile of potatoes dauphinoise. I was beginning to relax and lose the apprehensive rollercoaster feeling, but it still felt strange to be talking about the usual gossip in such unfamiliar surroundings and in the heightened hearing of fellow diners.

Staff say that one phenomenon in their sister restaurant in Paris, which has been open for 18 months, is that diners lose their preconceptions and inhibitions and strike up conversation with neighbours further down the long bench tables. Luckily for them, the other diners in attendance today were not within range of our awkward wine-pouring or fish flicking, but I can see that having picked up and swilled from a neighbour's wine glass in error I would be more ready to introduce myself and apologise.

Dessert was a lovely apple tarte tatin accompanied by a mysteriously fragrant ice cream. Could it be mint or eucalyptus? I couldn't place it and would never have guessed lavender, but was happy enough using a pincer technique of spoon and fingers to get it to my mouth.

We had survived without too much spillage and it was time to go - but how would we get out? The answer was to call one of the waiters for a shoulder-led exit. Happily back in the daylight, I reflected on the overall experience. Was this just another gimmick?

Undoubtedly Dans Le Noir (French for "In the dark") provides a novelty dining experience but I was glad I had submitted to the challenge. I had a far greater appreciation of lives led permanently in the dark, but had also had a delicious meal.

The concept of dinner in the dark dates back to the 18th century, according to founder of the chain Edouard de Broglie, when charitable foundations organised them in France and Switzerland to promote awareness about blindness. In the last 18 months, some 60,000 diners have passed through his Paris restaurant's heavy curtains, ranging from students to the French prime minister. Many blind people have also visited with their families, he says, to share their experience of life in darkness.

But De Broglie stresses that though his restaurants will donate 10% of their annual profits to charity, his aim is to prove that conventional businesses can actually make money by employing disabled staff rather than providing charity. "This is not a charity and we're proud of that," he told me. "Blind people come don't come here for charity they come for proper work."


Dining in the dark

A s the early spring sunshine warmed my cheeks, it felt even more unnatural to want to closet myself away in the culinary equivalent of a photographic dark room to indulge in London's latest gastro experience. But this lunchtime I had the privilege of being the first customer at Dans Le Noir, a new and challenging eaterie in Farringdon.

Diners eat (or attempt to) in absolute darkness - mobile phones and even digital watches must be left outside - and are physically guided around and served by visually impaired staff. The idea is to raise awareness about blindness and turn the tables on society's attitudes to disability. Fully sighted visitors must put all their faith in the staff, who are seen as disadvantaged in the outside world, but have the upper hand here by knowing their way around every inch of the restaurant.

I wondered if not seeing the food or its presentation would affect my appetite and my enjoyment of the meal. And would it really be possible to have a proper catch-up with a friend over lunch when I couldn't even see her face? As my dining companion is heavily pregnant, the waiters would be presented with the additional challenges of more frequent (escorted) visits to the Ladies, a ban on raw eggs, goats' cheese and the like, and the imperative not to bump us into anything en route around the dining room.

After placing our order and locking up our coats, bags and phones in the fully lit bar area, we were led, clutching each other's shoulders, down a dimly lit corridor. The occasional red ceiling lights were designed to prepare our eyes for the total blackout of the dining room. Now I'm not claustrophobic, but I admit to having felt slightly sick as we were led through the thick black curtains and encouraged to grope for our chairs. All the table-top apparel was right in front of us - somewhere. But which was the wine glass and where on earth was the bread?

Much awkward giggling and self-conscious conversation followed and I wondered what on earth it would be like to hold a true blind date here. As we fumbled around attempting to pour out the water and tuck into the bread we gradually got our bearings, but we did constantly pick up each other's glasses. One colleague had suggested I bring a bib along and I was beginning to think he might have a point.

We had opted for the ultimate challenge of the surprise menu, so would have to guess what each dish was, lurking somewhere straight ahead. The starters were easy - lovely crunchy asparagus, which could be picked up and shovelled in with a bit of wiping of hands to remove the slimy hollandaise sauce. I briefly flirted with a fork, but kept getting it upside down, so I downed tools. There is a childlike fun to be had in jabbing your fingers all over the plate, feeling the different temperatures and textures.

The main course was trickier, though just as delicious: I guessed cod (it was bream) and identified a great big sloppy chunk as a slice of aubergine. Braving cutlery, much to my friend's disgust, I found a combined scooping action of fork from the left and knife from the right was best when attacking a pile of potatoes dauphinoise. I was beginning to relax and lose the apprehensive rollercoaster feeling, but it still felt strange to be talking about the usual gossip in such unfamiliar surroundings and in the heightened hearing of fellow diners.

Staff say that one phenomenon in their sister restaurant in Paris, which has been open for 18 months, is that diners lose their preconceptions and inhibitions and strike up conversation with neighbours further down the long bench tables. Luckily for them, the other diners in attendance today were not within range of our awkward wine-pouring or fish flicking, but I can see that having picked up and swilled from a neighbour's wine glass in error I would be more ready to introduce myself and apologise.

Dessert was a lovely apple tarte tatin accompanied by a mysteriously fragrant ice cream. Could it be mint or eucalyptus? I couldn't place it and would never have guessed lavender, but was happy enough using a pincer technique of spoon and fingers to get it to my mouth.

We had survived without too much spillage and it was time to go - but how would we get out? The answer was to call one of the waiters for a shoulder-led exit. Happily back in the daylight, I reflected on the overall experience. Was this just another gimmick?

Undoubtedly Dans Le Noir (French for "In the dark") provides a novelty dining experience but I was glad I had submitted to the challenge. I had a far greater appreciation of lives led permanently in the dark, but had also had a delicious meal.

The concept of dinner in the dark dates back to the 18th century, according to founder of the chain Edouard de Broglie, when charitable foundations organised them in France and Switzerland to promote awareness about blindness. In the last 18 months, some 60,000 diners have passed through his Paris restaurant's heavy curtains, ranging from students to the French prime minister. Many blind people have also visited with their families, he says, to share their experience of life in darkness.

But De Broglie stresses that though his restaurants will donate 10% of their annual profits to charity, his aim is to prove that conventional businesses can actually make money by employing disabled staff rather than providing charity. "This is not a charity and we're proud of that," he told me. "Blind people come don't come here for charity they come for proper work."


Dining in the dark

A s the early spring sunshine warmed my cheeks, it felt even more unnatural to want to closet myself away in the culinary equivalent of a photographic dark room to indulge in London's latest gastro experience. But this lunchtime I had the privilege of being the first customer at Dans Le Noir, a new and challenging eaterie in Farringdon.

Diners eat (or attempt to) in absolute darkness - mobile phones and even digital watches must be left outside - and are physically guided around and served by visually impaired staff. The idea is to raise awareness about blindness and turn the tables on society's attitudes to disability. Fully sighted visitors must put all their faith in the staff, who are seen as disadvantaged in the outside world, but have the upper hand here by knowing their way around every inch of the restaurant.

I wondered if not seeing the food or its presentation would affect my appetite and my enjoyment of the meal. And would it really be possible to have a proper catch-up with a friend over lunch when I couldn't even see her face? As my dining companion is heavily pregnant, the waiters would be presented with the additional challenges of more frequent (escorted) visits to the Ladies, a ban on raw eggs, goats' cheese and the like, and the imperative not to bump us into anything en route around the dining room.

After placing our order and locking up our coats, bags and phones in the fully lit bar area, we were led, clutching each other's shoulders, down a dimly lit corridor. The occasional red ceiling lights were designed to prepare our eyes for the total blackout of the dining room. Now I'm not claustrophobic, but I admit to having felt slightly sick as we were led through the thick black curtains and encouraged to grope for our chairs. All the table-top apparel was right in front of us - somewhere. But which was the wine glass and where on earth was the bread?

Much awkward giggling and self-conscious conversation followed and I wondered what on earth it would be like to hold a true blind date here. As we fumbled around attempting to pour out the water and tuck into the bread we gradually got our bearings, but we did constantly pick up each other's glasses. One colleague had suggested I bring a bib along and I was beginning to think he might have a point.

We had opted for the ultimate challenge of the surprise menu, so would have to guess what each dish was, lurking somewhere straight ahead. The starters were easy - lovely crunchy asparagus, which could be picked up and shovelled in with a bit of wiping of hands to remove the slimy hollandaise sauce. I briefly flirted with a fork, but kept getting it upside down, so I downed tools. There is a childlike fun to be had in jabbing your fingers all over the plate, feeling the different temperatures and textures.

The main course was trickier, though just as delicious: I guessed cod (it was bream) and identified a great big sloppy chunk as a slice of aubergine. Braving cutlery, much to my friend's disgust, I found a combined scooping action of fork from the left and knife from the right was best when attacking a pile of potatoes dauphinoise. I was beginning to relax and lose the apprehensive rollercoaster feeling, but it still felt strange to be talking about the usual gossip in such unfamiliar surroundings and in the heightened hearing of fellow diners.

Staff say that one phenomenon in their sister restaurant in Paris, which has been open for 18 months, is that diners lose their preconceptions and inhibitions and strike up conversation with neighbours further down the long bench tables. Luckily for them, the other diners in attendance today were not within range of our awkward wine-pouring or fish flicking, but I can see that having picked up and swilled from a neighbour's wine glass in error I would be more ready to introduce myself and apologise.

Dessert was a lovely apple tarte tatin accompanied by a mysteriously fragrant ice cream. Could it be mint or eucalyptus? I couldn't place it and would never have guessed lavender, but was happy enough using a pincer technique of spoon and fingers to get it to my mouth.

We had survived without too much spillage and it was time to go - but how would we get out? The answer was to call one of the waiters for a shoulder-led exit. Happily back in the daylight, I reflected on the overall experience. Was this just another gimmick?

Undoubtedly Dans Le Noir (French for "In the dark") provides a novelty dining experience but I was glad I had submitted to the challenge. I had a far greater appreciation of lives led permanently in the dark, but had also had a delicious meal.

The concept of dinner in the dark dates back to the 18th century, according to founder of the chain Edouard de Broglie, when charitable foundations organised them in France and Switzerland to promote awareness about blindness. In the last 18 months, some 60,000 diners have passed through his Paris restaurant's heavy curtains, ranging from students to the French prime minister. Many blind people have also visited with their families, he says, to share their experience of life in darkness.

But De Broglie stresses that though his restaurants will donate 10% of their annual profits to charity, his aim is to prove that conventional businesses can actually make money by employing disabled staff rather than providing charity. "This is not a charity and we're proud of that," he told me. "Blind people come don't come here for charity they come for proper work."


Dining in the dark

A s the early spring sunshine warmed my cheeks, it felt even more unnatural to want to closet myself away in the culinary equivalent of a photographic dark room to indulge in London's latest gastro experience. But this lunchtime I had the privilege of being the first customer at Dans Le Noir, a new and challenging eaterie in Farringdon.

Diners eat (or attempt to) in absolute darkness - mobile phones and even digital watches must be left outside - and are physically guided around and served by visually impaired staff. The idea is to raise awareness about blindness and turn the tables on society's attitudes to disability. Fully sighted visitors must put all their faith in the staff, who are seen as disadvantaged in the outside world, but have the upper hand here by knowing their way around every inch of the restaurant.

I wondered if not seeing the food or its presentation would affect my appetite and my enjoyment of the meal. And would it really be possible to have a proper catch-up with a friend over lunch when I couldn't even see her face? As my dining companion is heavily pregnant, the waiters would be presented with the additional challenges of more frequent (escorted) visits to the Ladies, a ban on raw eggs, goats' cheese and the like, and the imperative not to bump us into anything en route around the dining room.

After placing our order and locking up our coats, bags and phones in the fully lit bar area, we were led, clutching each other's shoulders, down a dimly lit corridor. The occasional red ceiling lights were designed to prepare our eyes for the total blackout of the dining room. Now I'm not claustrophobic, but I admit to having felt slightly sick as we were led through the thick black curtains and encouraged to grope for our chairs. All the table-top apparel was right in front of us - somewhere. But which was the wine glass and where on earth was the bread?

Much awkward giggling and self-conscious conversation followed and I wondered what on earth it would be like to hold a true blind date here. As we fumbled around attempting to pour out the water and tuck into the bread we gradually got our bearings, but we did constantly pick up each other's glasses. One colleague had suggested I bring a bib along and I was beginning to think he might have a point.

We had opted for the ultimate challenge of the surprise menu, so would have to guess what each dish was, lurking somewhere straight ahead. The starters were easy - lovely crunchy asparagus, which could be picked up and shovelled in with a bit of wiping of hands to remove the slimy hollandaise sauce. I briefly flirted with a fork, but kept getting it upside down, so I downed tools. There is a childlike fun to be had in jabbing your fingers all over the plate, feeling the different temperatures and textures.

The main course was trickier, though just as delicious: I guessed cod (it was bream) and identified a great big sloppy chunk as a slice of aubergine. Braving cutlery, much to my friend's disgust, I found a combined scooping action of fork from the left and knife from the right was best when attacking a pile of potatoes dauphinoise. I was beginning to relax and lose the apprehensive rollercoaster feeling, but it still felt strange to be talking about the usual gossip in such unfamiliar surroundings and in the heightened hearing of fellow diners.

Staff say that one phenomenon in their sister restaurant in Paris, which has been open for 18 months, is that diners lose their preconceptions and inhibitions and strike up conversation with neighbours further down the long bench tables. Luckily for them, the other diners in attendance today were not within range of our awkward wine-pouring or fish flicking, but I can see that having picked up and swilled from a neighbour's wine glass in error I would be more ready to introduce myself and apologise.

Dessert was a lovely apple tarte tatin accompanied by a mysteriously fragrant ice cream. Could it be mint or eucalyptus? I couldn't place it and would never have guessed lavender, but was happy enough using a pincer technique of spoon and fingers to get it to my mouth.

We had survived without too much spillage and it was time to go - but how would we get out? The answer was to call one of the waiters for a shoulder-led exit. Happily back in the daylight, I reflected on the overall experience. Was this just another gimmick?

Undoubtedly Dans Le Noir (French for "In the dark") provides a novelty dining experience but I was glad I had submitted to the challenge. I had a far greater appreciation of lives led permanently in the dark, but had also had a delicious meal.

The concept of dinner in the dark dates back to the 18th century, according to founder of the chain Edouard de Broglie, when charitable foundations organised them in France and Switzerland to promote awareness about blindness. In the last 18 months, some 60,000 diners have passed through his Paris restaurant's heavy curtains, ranging from students to the French prime minister. Many blind people have also visited with their families, he says, to share their experience of life in darkness.

But De Broglie stresses that though his restaurants will donate 10% of their annual profits to charity, his aim is to prove that conventional businesses can actually make money by employing disabled staff rather than providing charity. "This is not a charity and we're proud of that," he told me. "Blind people come don't come here for charity they come for proper work."


Se videoen: Christian Hjelm - I Mørket Finder Lyset Vej Officiel video (Oktober 2021).