Monday, February 13, 2012

Dinner in the Dark

What is dining in the dark? This idea originally came from a restaurant in Cologne, Germany named Unsicht-Bar where people literally dine in complete darkness. What is also unique about the bar is that other than the place being pitch-dark, the waiters are either visually impaired or completely blind.

The concept of the restaurant is not only to let people experience what it is like to be blind, like the waiters; but also for you to experience the heightening of your other senses if you don't use your sense of vision. Ordinary food like carrots can taste so much more when you don't see it, and you use the rest of your senses to feel the texture. You may also need your hearing to place where your companions are in the room, where the voices are coming from; slowly feel where your utensils and glasses are while eating. It is a whole different kind of experience.

Since this bar opened, many has opened restaurants with similar concept. Instead of having blind servers they rely on technology to hire seeing people to guide people to their seat and serve their food to them.

This year JCI Manila partnered up with Best Western F1 Hotel in cooperation with Enderun Colleges organized an event called Dinner in the Dark last February 10, 2012. This event was a fund raising event for the Parents Advocates for Visually Impaired Children and for the Blind Olympics.

Since this is just an event and isn't an actual restaurant, they did not invest in pricey night vision goggles and instead we were given blind folds before we entered the function room. We were asked to line up, like kids in kindergarten, and hold the shoulder of the one in front of you and the guide lead us all to our table and respective seats.

The event actually started late, since the dinner was a 3-course meal and could not start if not everyone was around. It was not until 8:30PM before we actually had our dinner.

The first thing we had was bread with butter. It was such a challenge because you wouldn't think eating bread would require a good amount of vision to actually do it right. haha. I was spreading butter on my finger instead of on the roll. Of course putting food into the mouth isn't any problem since we have Kinesthetic sense, provides the parietal cortex of the brain with information on the relative positions of the parts of the body.  So we will always know where our mouth (or other body part) is.

First course was the soup, we were asked to put our hands on our lap whenever they were gonna serve the food.  Even though the place was not completely out of light, it is still a challenge for the servers to make sure that we won't bump into them while they are putting the hot soup on the table.  It was mushroom soup, it smelled really good an delicious and I could bite the bits of diced mushrooms in it.

What's funny about dinner in the dark is that you don't need to worry much about etiquette! haha whether or not you're using the right spoon or should or should you not hold up the cup of soup.  I just put the cup close to my mouth and slowly scooped a few spoonful at a time.

The main course was very interesting.  This is really the first time to eat something I have never seen before.  I guess my (bad) habit of smelling the food before I eat came in really handy that night.  I randomly stabbed my fork onto the plate and just ate whatever was skewered.  Our table concluded that there were definitely 2 kinds of fish on the plate which were salmon and dory fish.  There was also a hearty serving of mashed potatoes; some sort of enchilada that had bell pepper in it, was definitely sweetened by mango bits, and also had super delicious cilantro on it.  I really loved it.  The plate made us all VERY full since the serving size was a big one.  This was also served with a glass of red wine.

On the third plate, the dessert, when the plate was served, the host asked us count down with them from 10.  3,2,1.... we were asked to remove our blindfolds while the they simultaneously turned on the light and colored poppers were released into the air and everyone clapped and appreciated the chocolate mousse in front of us, beautifully arranged on a plate with strawberry sauce and drizzles of chocolate.

The event definitely gave you a sort of slice-of-life experience of being blind.  Of course they wouldn't be as clumsy as we were, as they are accustomed to darkness, but how the rest of your senses work better if you don't rely solely on your eyes to function.  It is actually ironic how being "blind" is an eye-opening experience.


  1. masubukan ko nga sa bahay. hahaha

  2. i don't know about carrots tasting better while eating them w/ ur eyes closed. also red wine with fish? ;->

  3. rence: hahaha ingat ka, train mo muna si inday haha

    wanderlass: haha i knew you'd comment on the carrot thing! yes, i know! when they served red wine, we all thought, oh we're getting beef! or lamb! and then ngek, fish? haha