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Dining In The Dark In Vancouver’s Kitsilano Neighbourhood

Monday, June 29, 2015 @ 10:06 PM
Author: Amit Mathur

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Dining in the dark, or “dark dining” as it is more commonly referred as, is the latest craze in restaurant experiences. The basic concept of these restaurants is that there is no light so you don’t see your food, leaving your other senses to heighten the culinary experience for your tastebuds.

The original concept came about in 1999 in Switzerland where a blind clergyman, Jorge Spielmann, from Zurich wanted people with sight to know what it was like to be blind. He started off by blindfolding his dinner guests in order to have them experience what it is truly like for the blind to eat. His guests were amazed at how their sense of smell, taste, touch and sound were heightened, thereby enhancing the flavours and textures of your food.

How It Works

Most ‘dark’ restaurants around the world operate the same way. Guests come in to a lit room where they pre-order their meal. Most places also offer ‘surprise’ menu items for those who are truly adventurous. Once you enter the dining area, all sources of light are removed, that includes cameras, flashlights, cell phones or even luminous watches are allowed. The restaurants’ wait staff are more-often-than-not blind or visually impaired as they are best suited to work in such conditions. The idea is truly to focus entirely on your meal.

Dark Table In Kitsilano

As described on their website, “An evening at Dark Table will take you on a culinary journey through uncharted territory, where the familiar—food, drink and friends—becomes a wonder to be explored and discovered, as if for the first time.” Dark Table has been brought to Vancouver by the same owner as O.Noir restaurants in Montreal and Toronto. There are set service times, so making a reservation is highly recommended. Expect your dining experience to last about an-hour-and-a-half. And of course, be sure to come with a sense of adventure and an empty stomach!

Shining A Light On Awareness

Though the experience is something rather unique, there is also the point that you’re learning first-hand what it is like to be blind or visually impaired. The experience is one that cannot be talked through, so living it first-hand over a meal is considered, by some, to be priceless. Most of these dark dining restaurants consider that the ultimate goal of their venue, and donate part of their revenue to charities that work with the blind and/or visually impaired.

What You See Is Not Always What You Get

Often times, people are guilty of eating with their eyes. The pleasure we get from seeing a beautiful and plentiful dish served in front of you. You salivate, you enjoy how it looks before you have even tasted a single bite. So is it really worth it to sacrifice the sense of sight involved with eating when dining in the dark? No one can determine that for you, except for you. Even if you don’t enjoy not seeing your food, you can’t argue that dark dining allows for an interesting evening and something that will have you talking with your friends and family for weeks to come.

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