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  • 30-31 Clerkenwell Green
    London EC1R 0DU
    Clerkenwell
  • Transit information Central Circle Hammersmith & City Metropolitan Get Directions
  • Phone number 020 7253 1100
  • Business website danslenoir.com
  • “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.” in 3 reviews

    Noise Level: Very Loud

  • “After meeting in the reception you're led into the restaurant in a long conga line by the blind waiter.” in 8 reviews

  • “When you get there you can have a drink at the bar although it's pretty pricey- £7 for a vodka and diet coke!” in 4 reviews

    Alcohol: Full Bar

  • 4.0 star rating
    3/1/2014

    Went here for a birthday dinner-- they sing but sadly no candles-- and it was such an interesting experience. You walk into a dimly lit restaurant and are told to put anything that is a light source (watches, phones, etc.) and your purses/coats into a locker room. You then are greeted by the maitre'd and given a choice of menus-- Surprise, Meat, Vegetarian, or Fish. The "Surprise" one is kind of a misnomer because all of them are surprises really-- you have no idea what your plates are going to look like.

    You are greeted by a waiter who leads you into a completely and utterly dark room (hand on his shoulder) and as you sit down at a sort of community table to start enjoying your meal. This is sort of a make or break point for me-- I ended up having a really friendly and interesting table with lots of good conversation, but I can see how it could end up the other way around.

    The food was delicious, albeit hard to eat (lots of disappointment when your fork reaches your mouth and you haven't gotten any food on it). I will say that make sure you are ready for an experience because you have no say over what you are eating (unless it is an allergy and you submit that at the time of reservation). At the end of the meal you are lead out to pay with the maitre'd and you are given a "look book" of sorts to see what your meal looked like. I ate kangaroo and I liked it!

    Overall a great experience for the adventurous and the food was delicious prepared. Highly recommend.

  • 5.0 star rating
    16/12/2013

    This was one the most intriguing, interesting and educational meal I've ever had.

    Allow me to set the stage: a restaurant with a blind waitstaff set in pitch black darkness. The front room is lighted and this is where you check in. Tell them what you won't eat (for instance, if you practice a vegan lifestyle) and they simply don't serve it to you. I don't like cheese, so they noted not to include it in my dinner. Otherwise, your culinary adventure is a complete surprise.

    Out comes your server, whose shoulder you then grasp, and that person leads you into the eating hall. You are now the one at a complete disadvantage, helpless to your server to lead you about. When you're seated, you're given a quick rundown of how this whole thing is going to go, and you wait for your secret plates. Very exciting!

    Half the fun of the wait is chatting with your fellow unseen guests. Once supper arrived, the first thing I noticed was how useless utensils are when you're not accustomed to working them in the dark. I ended up just using my hands! And I had no idea what I was eating. I detected a sausage, a veggie or two, but I was mostly left at a loss. No idea if the chefs were blind as well, but I'm afraid the food was merely average to taste.

    Upon finishing, you're then replaced to the front room again where the hostess politely grills you on what you think you ate. After my failing miserably at guessing, she presented me with a visual presentation of my meal, which included blood sausage. I'd never eaten this before that night and, strangely enough, it was my favorite part of the meal.

    I love this concept as a way of not only educating us on how it is to be sight challenged in a wonderfully visual world but also as a method of employing the blind in situations where they're in control. I was ecstatic to learn that a Dans le Noir had opened in my former home of NYC, but eventually closed, to my dismay. In my opinion, a place like this should thrive in every major city of the world.

  • 4.0 star rating
    15/10/2013
    1 check-in here

    The concept of this restaurant has appealed to me ever since it was first brought to my attention so I finally got around to seeing if it lived up to my expectation.

    Upon arrival we were greeted and briefed on what to expect. I picked the white menu, which is the chef's surprise and we opted for 3 courses with surprise wines. Our coordinateur then advised us to use the toilets prior to entering the dark room.

    Given that the toilet area was to provide my first impression I was a little taken aback by the state it was in. It was smelly and grubby, reminiscent of something you would find in a divey run down pub. Even the stairs and carpet outside were worn and tatty. Not what I was expecting!

    We returned to the lobby and deposited our stuff in one of the provided lockers before being introduced to our blind waiter, Roberto. We were then led through expertly into the dark room and seated.

    It really is pitch black, and I found myself exploring my surroundings with my hands to try and build up an idea of the environment around me despite the inky blackness.

    The food arrived promptly, with the accompanying wine in tumblers rather than wine glasses for obvious reasons! Eating in the dark was surprisingly difficult, the lack of any tactile feedback from the cutlery makes it impossible to tell if you stabbing at food, your plate or just thin air! For both my starter and my main I had to resort to running my fingers across the plate to determine if I had eaten everything or not.

    The three courses arrived in what seemed like quick succession. However we weren't rushed and once we had finished Roberto told us to give him a call when we were ready to leave and was happy for us to take our time.

    Once we were ready to go we were led back through the curtains and back to the lobby area where our coordinateur presented us with a leather bound booklet showing us what we had eaten. My guesses proved to be mostly incorrect, however the dishes selected were exotic enough that I wouldn't have known what they were even if they had been served up to me in broad daylight...

    Overall I found it to be an immersive dining experience which I would definitely recommend to others to try, however I didn't find the food to be remarkable enough to feel that I would want to return. Our bill for 2 covers totalled £144 and while I don't regret it for the overall package I have had better food for less money elsewhere.

  • 4.0 star rating
    12/3/2010
    ROTD 2/1/2011

    Ok, so here's how my experience started...I arrived with a full bladder, searching madly for the nearest bathroom. With trepidation I followed the concierge's hand signals towards an envelope of shrouded darkness. Luckily I popped out in a passageway with complete with lights....whew....unluckily, once I had found the bathroom, it appeared the bathroom's light bulb was out (this was not part of the setup, I considered it for a moment, but knew it wouldn't work, no one wants to clean up after that, and confirmed it later in the evening upon returning to a then well lit bathroom).

    Anyway, as I said, I needed to go, pronto...so I made a calculated guess of where everything was from the doorway, before plunging headlong into the blackness as the door closed behind me and all light was emphatically extinguished....

    It all worked out OK (I think...I couldn't really tell too much, but I even managed to find the soap and wash my hands!). This was just my first 5 minutes at the place, and already I was enticed by the sheer feeling of helplessness one experiences in the dark, even though you can usually get by just fine if you put your mind to it and take certain precautions!

    Right, on to the "advertised" experience. So we went in as a large group, 1 hand on the shoulder of the person in front, don't let go, or you'll be left behind enemy lines and never find your way out. Lost forever in the inky darkness. Possibly waking up in a bath full of ice...no, let me stop there...

    Luckily, I managed to hold on to my guide....Unluckily I walked straight into a wall! If you could imagine someone mashing their face up against a pane of glass, then you'd have a pretty good idea of how I looked, except it's funnier when it's glass, not a wall, people are watching from the other side, and it was your intention to do this for other's amusement. Luckily, no one saw it happen, as it was completely dark. Unluckily, everyone heard me grunt at the point of impact....

    After sitting down the real experience started, we had a sample of wine and tapas. It was an awesome experience trying to figure out what you were eating, how much was actually on your plate (there were numerous Eureka! moments when people found they had one more of their favourite morsels left on their plate that they hadn't noticed), and how to tackle your food with a knife and fork.

    Obviously the knife and fork was just foreplay, and could only be tolerated as long as your will power allowed, soon being sidelined in favour of the more direct and hedonistic strategy of digging in with your hands. It was truly a experience of discovery and excitement. Everything was unexpected, even Matt taking off his shirt unbeknownst to most...Conversation was enthralling as once everyone was finished eating, their was literally nothing else to distract people, you were either speaking or listening (or perhaps making out, I'm not sure if any of that went down...but it could have...).

    The only reason I'm giving them 4 stars, is because I wouldn't say the food was earth shattering, and I can't give them 5 stars unless the experience was perfect. The food was definitely good value for what we paid, but we only had the tapas. Without any shadow of a doubt I will be returning to sample their 3 course menu, and will then update this review with my more qualified thoughts on their culinary expertise. All in all the experience is definitely a "must try" in my book...except for those afraid of the dark...

  • 4.0 star rating
    6/12/2008

    Here is a crazy idea. Ever tried eating a three course meal in pitch black darkness? Well if you think this sounds like fun you need to try out Dans le Noir restaurant in Farringdon.

    On entering you take a seat in the lobby and decide whether to eat the surprise three course menu of where there is no description of what you will have. Or you can choose your meal. I definitely recommend the surprise menu.

    You are introduced to your blind waiter. They explained that all the waiters are blind as their senses are more attuned to working in darkness. You are instructed to place your right hand on their shoulder and then they lead you into the darkest room I have ever been in.

    You are seated, then after explaining that if you call your waiters name they will come, they pour your first glass of wine and depart.

    The first ten minutes were difficult as the darkness is so oppressive. There literally is not a single shard of light. You can hear others in the restaurant and this I found comforting. My partner and I often held hands as a comfort to.

    As the food arrived things got really interesting. It is startling to realise how much you use your eyes when you eat. Without this sense your taste is really heightened, and it is great testing your knowledge on flavours.

    When the main arrived using a knife and fork initially was a problem, but before you know it you are chomping away as normal. Without a single hiccup or broken glass we made it to the end of our meal. At around £50 per head it was an amazing experience.

  • 3.0 star rating
    14/5/2009

    I'm on the fence here as the experience is a five but the food is a disappointing and overpriced one.

    Once seated you'll start feeling around to scope out the layout, where your plate is, where your drinks are and how close the person next to you is sitting (feel above rather than below the table). When the food arrives you also realise how little one "feels" with cutlery and I ended up scraping the plate with a fork to find my dinner!  The temptation to use my fingers was irresistible in the end :-D

    Identifying categories of food (game, fish etc.) was fairly straightforward but they picked some pretty exotic meats. The disappointment was the stringy lamb, overcooked ostrich, cold fish and undercooked rice. You're in such a high state of anticipation that it woulddn't be hard to be blown away and they failed entirely. Similarly, the "bar"/anteroom was empty when we arrived at seven and is not at all atmospheric or pleasant - you're better off drinking at the pub next door.

    In the end, this is something you'll want to try once but it's a shame about the food.

  • 4.0 star rating
    18/3/2013

    Everyone should try this once!   Yes, it's a bit pricey (42 GBP for 2 course meal) but if you've never done a dine in the dark restaurant, it really is a unique experience that is worth the small dent in your wallet.

    I have NEVER experienced true darkness like that -- it's like a black curtain over your eyes.  Quite the sensation.  And while I didn't find a heightened sense of taste, I did find a heightened sense of fun! :)  Really changes the types of dinner conversations you have when you know no one in the restaurant can see or really hear you :)

    Food itself is ok, very unique combos, though actual taste is only average given the price.  Some items came out a bit cold.  But then again, I don't think you come for the plating or the food...

    Tips:
    --Use the bathroom beforehand -- it's a real pain having to get the server to take you once in the dark
    --Surprise (house) wine is the cheapest and still very good (we tried both red and white).  Just know that you will have to pour it yourself in the dark!!  They teach you to put a finger in the glass and pour until i touches, but it's still hard and we spilled a whole bottle at our table!
    --Don't fret that you leave never knowing what you had, they do tell you after the meal. Once back in comfort of sight, they'll have you guess, and then show you a pictured menu of what you ate, which I thought was rather fun.
    --If you do the White course (Chef's surprise), be prepared for VERY exotic food.  If you are not comfortable with that, stick with the Red (meat) or Blue (seafood).  SPOILER ALERT:  I got the White course and my meal ended up containing ostrich, shark, and....zebra :X.  I'm still not sure how i feel about the last one, but i know a friend of mine is a wildlife lover and had some trouble sleeping that night...

  • 5.0 star rating
    27/1/2011

    On a trip to London 3 years back this was on my lists of "Must do!". First and foremost, please make sure you make a reservation and arrive on time! I was nearly late thanks to jet lag and a very long transport from Oxford Street but anyway. They themselves state if their staff who are visually impaired can show up to work, you can show up to a dinner reservation. Really gets you doesn't it?

    I thought I would be dining alone in the dark which sounds quite pathetic but luckily, they seated me at a table with literal group of strangers as all I heard were voices and slight Italian accents from a man named Fernando at my table.

    The good thing is they ask you up front what you will not eat or are allergic to. I for example do not eat pork. The early cocktails outside the dark room helped and it was nice to have dinner with others without being distracted by faces or cell phones. VERY STRICT no cell phone policy but don't worry, they provide lockers.

    By the end of the night my taste buds were so excited with everything except the dessert which was a predictable chocolate flour-less cake but the other entrees were superb. Once I received my very high bill (the most expensive single dinner I have ever had, nearly £80) if I recall and for a girl from the U.S., that was quite a surprise but worth it! My main course that night? Crocodile curry and it was delicious!

  • 5.0 star rating
    7/11/2008
    First to Review

    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 that's 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.

  • 2.0 star rating
    22/11/2010

    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.

    • Qype User Gourme…
    • London
    • 41 friends
    • 102 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    5/3/2009

    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.

    • Qype User inspir…
    • London
    • 624 friends
    • 366 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    30/1/2010

    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!

    • Qype User Marmit…
    • London
    • 77 friends
    • 95 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    21/8/2008

    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.

    • Qype User glitte…
    • London
    • 24 friends
    • 30 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    1/11/2007

    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!

  • 5.0 star rating
    19/11/2008

    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!

    • Qype User Donn…
    • London
    • 0 friends
    • 13 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    18/7/2010

    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.

    • Qype User al2…
    • London
    • 2 friends
    • 53 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    17/11/2008

    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!

    • Qype User Thunde…
    • Hull
    • 2 friends
    • 47 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    30/11/2008

    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!

  • 5.0 star rating
    31/12/2010
    1 check-in here

    After years of talking about this restaurant, I finally got to try it out, and boy what an experience it was!! On arrival we were greeted by the very friendly and helpful staff who advised us how the night would proceed and invited us to order a pre-dinner cocktail from the bar. The selection was good although a little pricey - I went for an apple and blackberry mojito that was delicious.

    We were then introduced to our blind waiter, Asha, who would be taking us through to our seats and looking after us for the evening. He explained that we just needed to shout his name if we needed anything during the course of the evening, and then led us through the curtain in a line, each person with our hand on the shoulder of the person in front.

    We were seated at a long table with other diners and brought a bottle of "surprise wine" which I was instructed to pour - quite a nerve wracking experience as I certainly didn't want to waste wine! We had chosen the white menu which is the surprise chefs selection so we really didn't know what we were getting. The starter definitely smelt like fish when it was put down in front of us, and we all settled on smoked trout on toast. It was pretty hard to eat with cutlery, and having chewed on an empty fork an number of times, I gave up and used my fingers! the main course came, again I could smell fish but thought I could taste fish, chicken and beef, plus sides of mushroom, parsnip and some kind pickled onion! This course was slightly easier to eat with the knife and fork, a good job as it also had some kind of sauce which would have been pretty messy should I have been required to eat with my hands. Dessert was next, some sort of custard pudding or pannacota?? We also had a surprise cocktail which was definitely a pina colada.

    Having read previous reviews, I wasn't expecting the food to be particularly good but I was pleasantly surprised. I do believe that you get much of your enjoyment of food from the look and presentation so it was strange to remove this aspect. I really was a peculiar experience having a meal in the pitch black, and I found I was leaning forward a lot to get closer to other people as well as my plate! It was definitely a little unnerving when the conversation stopped, but we all found ourselves joining in with our fellow dinners conversations which I'm pretty sure wouldn't have happened in the light!

    Once we had finished our meal, Asha escorted us out, I was surprised by how much I had lost my bearings. My only complaint was that it seemed to be over much too quickly, I would have liked to spend a little longer in there enjoying the experience.

    I felt quite dazed as we came back into the light, and a little tipsy, may be my wine glass had been a little fuller than I had thought! I was cleaner than I had thought, no food smeared around my face! Now to find out what we had eaten - just how good is my palate?? Well, apparently its pretty rubbish! The smoked trout turned out to be foie gras and duck breast terrine - what, two different things??? The main course was shark, crocodile and ox cheek with tongue - not the easiest of things to guess but I pride myself that I was kind of on the right lines...And pudding was some kind of pear dish which I didn't get at all.

    Overall, a fantastic experience with good food and drink. Yes, its fairly expensive, but not something you would do every day.

    Now, to work on my palate....

  • 3.0 star rating
    21/3/2010
    Listed in Special occasions

    Darkness seemed to be the theme of my day yesterday. London was experiencing one of its normal grey rainy days. Then i went inside Miroslaw Balka's "How it is" (telegraph.co.uk/culture/…) during an evening at the Tate Modern, and i ended the day with dinner at Dans Le Noir.
    I had reserved a place last week itself. But when i called to confirm the time, i was told that there was no booking in my name. They reserved again. Sloppy book-keeping ... they lose one star for this.
    After this the experience was unique ... the spookiest meal i have ever had. Our blind waiter led me and another couple, each holding on to the person in front, into the inky black darkness of the dining room. I was slow and apprehensive ... and often felt my hold slipping ... but i desperately held on. But the journey didn't take long (thankfully there were no stairs) and somehow we managed to sit at the aisle side of what seemed like a long table.
    I felt for the glasses and the cutlery and waited. The first item to arrive was the surprise cocktail. It was nice, but very sweet. I guessed some concoction made of vodka and cranberry juice.
    Then it was time for the starter. One can choose from the Meat, Vegetarian, Surprise or the Fish menus ... i had gone for the surprise. My surprise seemed like a salad and turkey with a a sprinkling of nuts. I had bravely started using the fork, but gave up soon after. Your hands are your best bet here ... it allows you to scrape the plate to search for any left-overs :)
    I was confused by the mains. I tasted fish but the lady in front of me who also had ordered the surprise menu thought it was lamb. I tasted lamb later. So was there some fish ? I didn't know. But surely there was some potato mash and vegetables. Actually i was almost sure it was a British sunday roast. Again i scraped the plate and finished all morsels of meat until there was only some mash left.
    The interesting thing was, the darkness didn't subside. Even after 1.5 hours inside, i still couldn't make out a thing ... not even my fingers. The room was darker than any other darkness i had ever experienced. I can't even begin to guess how they managed to accomplish this.
    Once the meal was over i was told what i had eaten. My guesses weren't correct of course ... but i was somewhat close.
    This is a very difficult rating to assign. Do i recommend the experience ? Certainly, no questions. Will i come back ? If i am accompanying someone, then sure ... else i don't think so. The food was good but not great, and the unique experience is not attractive enough for a second visit. So its a 3.5 star in my mind.
    The food is costly ... the 2 course menu plus the cocktail set me back by £47.50. But the money is well spent for what will almost certainly be  one of the most memorable meals you will have ever had.

  • 3.0 star rating
    10/7/2011

    The Idea behind this place is that without the use of sight, guests are forced to place more attention to their taste buds.

    and that works.

    kindda.

    when i walked into the pitch black dining room, and realized just how dark pitch black is, my stomach dropped, and adrenaline went coursing through my entire body. Omg, I thought, what the hell have I gotten myself into, this was a mistake, I'm going to trip and fall and die or some other terrible accident and no one will ever know. The state of panic my body launched itself into was astounding. My eyes literally hurt trying to find some kind of light to focus on, as if by looking *really* hard, I could force light out of the darkness. Eventually your eyes, well, adjust is the wrong word, but they reach a kind of half closed state, where you cant tell if they're open or closed and frankly it doesn't matter anymore.

    The food was good. Not mind blowing, but that's a bit hard, when a large portion of your brain is not only trying to figure out *what* the hell you're eating, but *where* the hell it is as well. after quite a bit of scraping, coming up with empty forks, and eventually putting your finger tips down to find your food, you get the hang of it, more or less.

    Funny thing about taking one sense away to enhance another -  sometimes its not the sense you would expect. My partner and I kept our voices low, neutral, as we would in any restaurant, but many of the diners around us doubled their volume to make up for the loss of sight. Just because you cant see the room full of people around you, doesn't mean their not there.

    After you eat they take you back into the reception area and ask what you think you had. We described everything that we had figured out, and they did a little show and tell, with pictures and descriptions. Here is where the main flaw of the place was brought into light: they tried to do too much. The starter was complex, but interesting and while certain ingredients were surprising, you felt you had a grasp on it. The mains, however they had 3 very different dishes and set ups, but all on one plate. They called it ''tasting menu style.'' That's all well and good when you know and can consciously eat each one individually, however when you're blindly  mashing your food together and are happy enough with yourself to recognize that you just ate steak with mash, you're not going to assume and go looking for soy and honey glazed duck with spinach (which I swear wasn't there) and seared calves liver with artichoke puree. It might have all worked by themselves, but not as invisible mush.  

    It's a cool, querky, novelty place to go with some friends for something different. - in fact, I would say everyone should go once and see what its like,  but I'm not rushing to book another table anytime soon

  • 4.0 star rating
    2/1/2011

    A friend brought me here a couple of years ago and ti was quite a nice evening. Very disorienting to eat in the dark and to have to try to find your food and drinks without seeing. The place is very loud, it seems that the fact that we don't see the people's reaction makes people speak louder. Food is fine, but it is expensive for what you get so you go for the experience, not the food.

  • 2.0 star rating
    14/9/2011

    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.

    • Qype User JMP0…
    • London
    • 1 friend
    • 6 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    1/9/2009

    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!!!

  • 3.0 star rating
    10/8/2012

    So the giddy excitement of being in the dark was pretty awesome, but the food - I had the vegetarian surprise menu - was pretty boring given the price.  The serving staff were cool, though.

    • Qype User Joella…
    • London
    • 0 friends
    • 57 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    19/6/2008

    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.

    • Qype User Kangat…
    • London
    • 7 friends
    • 11 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    27/4/2009

    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.

    • Qype User aideen…
    • London
    • 0 friends
    • 1 review
    4.0 star rating
    17/12/2008

    Go for the experience, not the food!

    • Qype User Mary8…
    • London
    • 0 friends
    • 1 review
    5.0 star rating
    15/5/2009 Updated review

    The service was absolutely fabulous. The guide was amazing. Food was average, but the overall experience was 10+. A definite MUST!!!!!!!

    5.0 star rating
    15/5/2009 Previous review
    The service was absolutely fabulous. The guide was amazing. Food was average, but the overall… Read more
  • 3.0 star rating
    10/4/2010

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