DANS LE NOIR? LTD
30-31 Clerkenwell Green, London, London, EC1R 0DU
- Tel: 020 7870 2674
Dine in total darkness for a sensational culinary, social and human experience.
Dans Le Noir is a restaurant where guests dine in the dark. Following on from the success of its branch in Paris, the restaurant has opened a branch in London. Guests choose from the menu in the (lit) bar area, before being lead into the pitched black restaurant. Reviews of the food have been mixed.
Services and products
- Average three-course meal price: £51
- European cuisine
- Style: Modern Restaurant, Unusual experience
Dans le Very Clever for a One Off
05/10/2008 by Browners
In a sudden fit of bravery we decided to take our wonderful Client out for an adventurous dinner. She is based in the States so we rarely get to see each other face to face. This will now seem like a non-sequitor... So we took her to Dans le Noir in Farringdon for a fabulous night of dining in the dark. We are working on a project that is all about sensual experiences, so it made perfect sense to finish the day's hard work with a meal that would push all of our sensual boundaries. Arriving at the restaurant we were greeted in the foyer by a collection of very engaging maitre d's. They made us put all of our kit in a locker so that no mobile phones or watches with illuminated faces could disturb the sheer blackness of the dining room. I don't think any of us were ready for the attack on our senese that was to follow. After a quick cocktail to instil a bit of Dutch courage in all of us, we queued up behind a blind waitress/guide and were led into the pitch black room. Some squealed. Others were a bit more stoical. We found our table using our hands and all sat down around what we all thought was a round table, but turned out to be oblong! We groped around the table looking for water glasses and bottles. The only way you can pour everyone's wine is to put your finger in the glass and keep pouring until your finger gets wet! Not very hygenic. But great fun. We all spoke very loudly to begin with as we acclimatised to the dark. Towards the end of the meal our voices became more calm and we shouted a lot less! It's bizarre just how reliant we all are on our sense of sight. I found it really hard to determine what I was eating and to be honest can't quite remember. Memory works very badly when you remove the sense of sight. My starter may have involved something resembling spring rolls filled with what I thought was minced chicken and somebody else thought was tuna - which turned out to be duck. Likewise I got terribly confused by my main course which I still swear to the this day was lamb, but turned out to be a mixture of ostrich fillet on one side of the plate and venison on the other. But we all recognised the distinctive smell and flavour of the truffled risotto that acted as a division between the two meats. Personally I loved the whole experience. There is something very liberating about being in the dark. It may have been the amount of wine I was drinking because I was thirsty and couldn't find my water glass... but I found myself saying things at a work dinner that I would never otherwise have said. I've never had so much fun chatting a joking around a (now clearly rectangular) table. Everything seems funnier in the dark. Be careful about coming here if you know people are claustrophobic or are a bit strapped for cash as it isn't cheap. But remember you are coming here for an experience and not simply a meal. In many ways this is the idea of a restaurant pushed to the extreme. It's not about the food. It's about opening your mind and having an entertaining time. We learnt a lot about each other during the course of the meal and feel like we all bonded along the way. Will any of us return? Unlikely. But not in a bad way. We've all been talking about the experience ever since and won't ever forget that crazy meal we all had in the dark! It's a great place to come if you want to break the ice.Report this
Dans Le Bleurgh
12/09/2008 by smileylaura0
I made a visit to this restaurant in a party of 9, feeling a little nervous about how I would cope inside the restaurant, considering that it is totally and utterly dark! You enter in a conga line, directed to your table, expecting to find that your eyes might adjust to the darkness and perhaps you'd start to see the outline of the room, or the doorway - but nothing happens, it really is pitch black. After a tricky moment or two fiddling with cutlery, you quickly abandon your knives and forks in favour of eating with your hands - well, why not? It's not as if anyone can see you! It is also very loud inside the restaurant, but I don't think this is only because our other senses are heightened when sight is taken away, I think that it's also because guests genuinely did raise their voices. Perhaps to over compensate for the fact that they could not see each other? Unfortunately, I was right to be nervous - after about 10 minutes I had to leave as I felt claustrophobic, no matter how much I tried to convince myself that it was a large room, I still felt closed in by the darkness. The rest of my party were fine, so I ended up paying £50 for a meal which I ate on my own in the empty, lit bar on the second floor. To make matters worse, I was not at all impressed with the food - the fact that I could see my food didn't help, it still tasted no better than a school dinner! The only redeeming feature about this place is the fact that they hire blind people as waiters/waitresses, and support Deaf-Blind charities with donations - hence the 1 star.Report this
Save yourself the cash
09/09/2008 by misstravelbug
This is an overpriced restaurant selling itself on a gimmick. The food here is worse than average though the sensation of eating completely in the dark is something different. Though not sure this experience is worth 40 quid with questionable cuts of meat and soggy overcooked vegetables.Report this
What an experience!
03/09/2008 by baks162
This restaurant is more for the experience rather than the food. A bunch of us went there a couple of months back after reading about it. It didnt dissapoint. When you arrive, you are given lockers to put all your belongings in (you arent allowed to take your mobile phones, watches, etc to the dining area) and then led by a blind waiter into the dark dining area. And trust me, it is dark and you cant see a thing! We ordered the vegetarian surprise dish - it tasted average but it was exciting trying to figure out what was on the plate! Woudl recommending not ordering any wine - if you miss the glass in the dark...!! By the end of the evening, I mused to myself - how important is our sight.Report this
just for the experience!
22/05/2008 by gilka
ok so first don't expect too much from the food- I had better food in other places. For me it was all about the experience: getting rid of anything that can produce light at the entrance, choosing if your meal is veggie or not and not knowing what you are going to get... One staff member leads you to your seat (hand on his back) It is completely dark! Can't see a thing! You need to be creative and learn how to eat like this, how to pour the wine into your glass and how to pass things around to your friends... It is quite loud and there is no music playing. You don't know what you are eating until you finish and that's part of the fun. About £50 per head with wine. A place to try once and no need to come back again...Report this
Is that your hand? oops, no sorry, that's not your hand!!
22/08/2007 by Ladis19
I went there last night (21/8/07) and had what can only be described as one of the most exciting dining experiences I have ever had. It's one of those Marmite places, some will love it, others will hate it but you just have to try. We arrived shortly before the time of our booking (best all to arrive at the same time because they can only seat you all in one go) and were greeted by a slightly cheesy but polite, enthusiastic and charming Frenchman. He explained procedures, dos and don'ts, offered us a drink at the bar whilst we waited for our waiter, took our order and sent us on our way. The Surprise Menu is divided into 4. White (anything), Red (No Fish), Blue (No Meat), Green (Vegetarian). So you make your choice of food and drink before entering the room. You walk into the “Dark Room” led by a blind or partially sighted waiter in a single file with your right hand over the right shoulder of the person in front until you reach your table, you are seated and then he explains protocol. Don't move, don't get up and walk around, if you need something ask etc… So there we were, just seated, feeling around trying to familiarise ourselves with our new surroundings and co-diners (Did I mention I only knew 1 person out of the 6 others). Talk about a blind date! there's no better way to find out about someone The experience is great, there's a fair amount of touchy feely going on because you have to feel your neighbour's hand before you pass her a bottle of wine or some bread etc. You suddenly become much more intimate with the person sitting next to you than you would if you were in a lit room (make sure you sit next to someone you have no problem “touching”). The conversation at dinner was also completely different. A lot more comments about the food, what are we eating? Who's nicked my wine? (btw Melanie that was me:)) where's the water? No not that one, the still water…etc. I wonder what we would have done if someone had asked for the salt? You have to put in a lot more effort in HOW you say things, normally a lot is said just by a smile or a deep look, there you have to use your voice in a very different way, it's fascinating. I would have liked to stay there a little longer and just sit and chat but we felt that they needed the space for other customers and felt, although very politely and discreetly, slightly pressured into leaving. The only down side to this restaurant is the food. This place having very strong French roots you would expect the food to be tastier. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad, just nothing to write home about. The price is around £50 a head (service not included) which in itself is acceptable considering we had aperitifs and wine and a great experience. I definitely recommend the place and if you can't find friends to go with you, call me, I'd love to go again.Report this
Eating in the complete darkness!!
27/10/2006 by elena
Being in "Dans le Noir" restaurant is a unique and at the same time weird experience. I have been in the one in Paris (near Pompidou) but since last year there is also one in London. Really strange feelings when you have to eat in a room where you can't see even your hand in front of your face. You order before entering the dark room and the people who lead you to your table and who serve you are semi blind. You have to use a lot your sense of touching in order to find things on your table and your plate. The food is pretty good even though a bit expensive. Bad choice if you are claustrophobic but good choice if you want to experience how blind people feel when eating in a restaurant and how our other senses get more active in a situation like that.Report this
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