They say eating is a visual experience. Not at “Dans le Noir?” it isn’t. Dinner in complete darkness is what Dans le Noir? offers. Judging from the majority of reviews, whether this is a good thing or not is unclear.
Co-funded by the Paul Guinot Foundation for Blind People, the restaurant is staffed entirely by the visually impaired. Visitors are seated by a waiter-guide and given hints on how to avoid spilling, such as “putting a finger inside your wineglass” - but beyond this, diners are on their own. Diners call their server by literally calling out for them. In the words of one diner, “You have no idea where your fellow diners are sitting, how many are at the table, how big the room is, or indeed if the guy in the next seat has stripped naked and is rubbing asparagus spears into his groin. It’s genuinely disconcerting.”
There is a surprise menu to give the diners the additional excitement of trying to guess what exactly they are eating. Apparently this is where the Dans le Noir? experience leaves something to be desired. Whether this is due to the diner’s inability to see the food or the chef’s inability to make something that tastes good, even in the dark, is up for debate.
There are Dans le Noir? restaurants in London and in Moscow, and another company called “Blackout” has just opened an all-blind-waitstaff restaurant in Tel-Aviv, next door to the “Kappish” cafe, whose waitstaff is all-deaf: On the table at Kappish is a sheet with instructions on how to order in sign language.