When Dining In the Dark KL opened its doors in December 2014 to welcome diners to its dark abyss, I was one of the first few to walk in.
*Previous post HERE –> What you need to know about Dining in the Dark KL: http://www.rebeccasaw.com/dininginthedarkkl/
Suffice to say that the experience was pretty extraordinary and left a memorable impression, not so much the food, but the experience of trying to function normally in a complete dark environment.
Being the first in Malaysia, Dining in The Dark was a total revelation back then.
Today, as I read back on what I wrote nearly 3 years ago, I had wondered if there had been any changes since then.
So I posted my previous link on Dining in the Dark on my Facebook and asked if anyone had tried it.
The ensuing comments such as “one could replicate the same experience at home by switching off the lights and dine” made me realized that the general public needs to be educated about Dining in the Dark.
Dear all, dining in the dark isn’t just about eating in total darkness.
There is so much more going on during the whole experience.
And thus I was prompted to write this post and list out some valid reasons for dining in the dark. I do hope that this article provided some insights about Dining in the Dark and the amount of thought that went into making your experience here memorable.
No doubt there is some novelty value and your experience makes for a great conversation topic over dinner/brunch with friends at a later date, but Dining in The Dark offers a more encompassing experience than just eating in pitch darkness.
Here are a few reasons why you should try Dining in The Dark:
1. Your meal provides employment for the blind
Not like an army of the blind I admit, but nevertheless you do make a difference in the lives of those under employment here at Dining in the Dark KL.
The team of blind guides who if I may heap praises on, executed their roles admirably.
If anything they showed more customer service competency than most of their non-disable counterparts.
He/she not not only brings you food, but he or she is your only guide in this world devoid of light.
As such, you would became very attached to your waiter.
2. Suitable for a once in a lifetime experience – or MORE
Since this is my 2nd visit I’ve thought I’ve “experienced it all“.
I stepped into the dining hall thinking that I know what to expect and with arrogance that “nothing is new”.
Funnily enough, I was pleasantly surprised that I did enjoy it all over again.
For one, different company matters.
My first visit was with a group of friends.
My recent visit was a more intimate affair; catching up with an old friend which I’ve not seen for a long time, other than on Facebook,
Two, the menu changes every 1-2 months so you are again, for the lack of a better phrase, in dark of your anticipated dinner.
Three, even if the menu hasn’t gone on rotation, you can always request for different courses. Explain that you were at Dining in the Dark before (provide the date) and asked for an alternative menu.
You can even request for gluten-free, vegan or specify if you have any allergies.
Yes, the team is most obliging (to an acceptable extent).
3. Me time
Look, no one can see that you are dining alone. LOL!
So yes, do it and enjoy your own company.
4. The whole experience twists your mind and allows you to understand how it would feel to be blind
Like TRULY BLIND.
Nothing metallic or shiny is allowed into the dining hall.
No watch, no smartphones nor cameras.
Try it, and you will appreciate your senses all the more.
More often than not, we take what we have for granted no?
You were given some helpful pointers, such as don’t leave your table and always reach for your water, beer or wine glass from the bottom.
Each course served are in individual portioned platters so the food is not mixed up and you are able to savour them one by one, and likewise you’re less at risk of pushing your food all over the table.
Oh, here’s a tip: Wash your hands before you go into the dining space.
I can assure you that at some point during the meal, you’re going to get frustrated enough to use your fingers!
Your guide will inform you to eat anti-clockwise or to start with a specific bowl.
What they didn’t deign to inform is, a white top is a terrible wardrobe choice unless you want to exit the dining room looking like a modern art painting.
5. Challenge yourself
Taste and smell are supposedly heightened in this environment, and not only you would find it an interesting challenge to identify the food you’re served using only your non-sight senses, you will discover that it is a whole new experience eating familiar foods in the dark.
The tastes and smells are so much more intense, and you notice subtleties in the foods that you miss when distracted by vision.
You will be aghast too (especially if you are a foodie who prides yourself on knowing your food) at your food identifications (almost certainly to be wrong), especially after dinner when they revealed what you had.
6. Food is good
You might have read TripAdvisor reviews and heard comments from friends and so on about how the food is just “nothing spectacular”.
But really, what would you expect?
A rack of lamb? Ribs?
Molecular gastronomy? Smoking plates of food?
You can’t see for heavens’ sake!
The team had to work with limitations such as no bones, nothing overly spicy or flavourful in case the guest suddenly had a shock (considering that they can’t see and couldn’t pre-empt themselves), no beef, nothing raw, nothing sharp, everything has to be bite-sized, no peas or anything that could encourage a choking incident and so on.
Trust me, it is a tall order to create menus that would suit the general palate and yet not border on bland.
You will find that the food is conventionally familiar, but it’s exemplary in execution with everything moderately spiced and seasoned and thus everything is tasty and enjoyable.
If you could refrain from over-expecting and understand the limitations of a blind dinner menu, you can safely be assured of a good meal, even much better than most “wanna-be hipster cafes” out there who charges RM30-40 per main and proceed to serve you terrible food.
Frankly I thought the team had levelled up since their opening days.
I could tell. After all I could claim to have dined here twice, in Dec 2014 and now in June 2016.
I remembered that my food was decent (definitely wasn’t bad) but nothing to shout about.
Yes, that is true.
But the food IS edible, the desserts are lovely and every course was served in generous portions which truly fills an ordinary-appetite diner up nicely.
IF you are the gluttony sort thinking that you could stuff yourself like you would in a buffet, then you are at the wrong place.
But of course, you’re more than welcome to pay more for additional courses. Like I’ve said earlier, the Dining in The Dark team is ever-obliging.
All in all, I reckon that the 4 course menu priced at RM118++ is pretty equivalent to a night out at some mid-range restaurant in town.
And to be honest, it was 4 courses with 15 variations.
1. 4 appetisers
2. 2 soups
3. 4 mains
5. 5 desserts
And let’s not forget the overall experience from the set-up, special staffing, specially prepared menu, the prior dinner amusements and the thoroughness of executing an experience of this sort.
Could you get all that by switching off the lights at home and tuck into your wantan mee?
I doubt so.
7. It is FUN
Yes, it can be quite an entertaining evening.
Upon arriving, there are two to three games to prepare you.
First is mocktail tasting where you have to guess what is in the juice mix.
Next is 2 blindfolded game where you must use your touch to identify some objects.
Once you’re ready, you’ll keep your phone and all other valuables in their safe box.
Then you will be acquainted with your personal waiter for the evening.
To enter the dinner space you would have to form human train with your appointed waiter at the head.
Though you’re not be blindfolded, believe me, you can’t see anything.
The pure darkness threaten to engulf you at first and it was impossible to get any sense of the size of it as it felt both infinite and cosy at the same time.
You’ll have to rely on your sense of touch to grab spoon, drinks.
Your waiter will look after you so do not fret.
He will begin by giving a brief orientation on the locations of our utensils and glasses.
When each course is served, he would deftly lay out the dishes and advise us in what order each should be consumed.
Once you are done and ready to leave, just call for your waiter and he will again lead you out in a human train.
Your possessions will be returned to you (oh yes, my phone!) and you can chill out on the balcony and enjoy a few drinks while the staff reveals ALL the dishes you had that evening. You and your partner can either feel smug that you have identified each ingredient/dish correctly or feel bashful that you didn’t.
Either way, you can be sure to have something to talk about for a while after!
According to the FAQ in their website, there were a few suggested places to park your vehicle but I just used the valet parking at the front of El Cerdo for RM10.
Special dietary request: Gluten-free, allergies, vegans, etc can be arranged but please do inform in advance/while you are making your reservations.
50A, Changkat Bukit Bintang,
Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Waze: “Dining In the Dark”.
Tel: + 603 2110 0431
Dinner: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.
Off day: Mon.