Saturday night Moo and I, with some of my work colleagues, went to our first Dining in the Dark experience in Kuala Lumpur. This definitely was a different experience in dining and one, after some initial trepidation, we all thoroughly enjoyed.
We started off in the lounge area with a Cocktail for which we had to guess the 3 ingredients. We all failed dismally as we reeled off all the fruits and vegetables we knew to just then have the hostess shake her head NO to everything we suggested.
Our server, Yus, then escorted us into the dining area. Single file, with our hand on the person in front, we filed in to a room that was pitch dark. We had a nervous walk in the dark to our table at which point Yus then took us one by one and helped us to find our chair. Yus, like most of the servers, was partially blind and so it was interesting to put ourselves into his world.
The 4 courses came out one by one with the make up of each course generally being a large wooden plate with 2 to 5 smaller bowls from which we would fumble around to find and then eat our meal. The smaller bowls enable each course to have separate taste and texture sensations and also made it possible to eat your meal without it going everywhere. Although we had a fork I found I was eating most of my meals with spoon and fingers 🙂
What surprised me the most was the texture sensation. Without being able to see your food I found this sensation became much stronger and you could notice a lot more the individual textures of the various elements of each dish. You would initially be drawn to the obvious and recognisable textures with chickpeas, pasta, mushrooms and tomatoes. The taste part seem to stand out with spices if there was ginger or chilli etc.
Conversation was interesting as you could hear everyone clearly and you seemed to focus more on what everyone was saying. We could not agree if this was because we were in the dark or if it was the decor of the room which appeared to be heavily carpeted and the wall next to me appeared to be covered in a shag pile of some sort.
What you did notice in conversation was that you were drawn to the exact point or direction of the voice and although we were on a small table for 6 people it often felt as the other person was some distance away.
I highly recommend this experience of Dining in the Dark. I feel it is better with a small group of 4 to 6, such as we had, because it gives you more people to share the experience with and discuss the dishes but it is not too big a group for the server to handle – given it is dark.