The Dining in the Dark concept is simple: fine dining, sans vision. The obvious notion is that without vision your other senses are heightened, and an amplified sense of smell and taste would effect how you experience food and drink.
First of all, without giving anything away, let me make one thing clear: when they say dark, they really mean it. I couldn’t tell from seeing alone if my eyes were open or closed. We’re talking really pitch black darkness.
How that impacts the way you taste and smell food is best left to individuals to experience themselves, but a couple of things caught me completely by surprise.
The first thing was a warped sense of time. We were served a four course meal and it was supposed to be over a period of two hours. Obviously while you’re dining (in the dark) you can’t look at a watch (and cellphones are taken away), so I couldn’t actually track time, but I felt rushed throughout. I was certain we weren’t given the full two hours, though robbed of vision I felt disinclined to complain about it.
However, when we were done and left the dark room, I was surprised to find that indeed we were in there for a good two hours. I suppose when something as simple as reaching out to grab a fork has to be a cautious and deliberate exercise, time is consumed by things that are relatively time-free for those with vision. The end result was I felt cheated of time, as a consequence of being cheated of vision.
The other funny thing is, at the end of the night, I kind of felt like I didn’t have dinner. It’s not that I was hungry. I just didn’t really have a “solid” memory of having had dinner. I know in theory I had dinner, and it was a fancier dinner than usual, but on a subjective deeper sensory level I’m less certain about having had it than I am about the lunch I had today. I saw my lunch. I didn’t see last night’s dinner.
As they say, seeing is believing.