Unusual London- Dans Le Noir review

Friday 14th September 2012 | Osh


Dans Le Noir, the restaurant where you pay extra to have no light shining upon you or your food. The restaurant holds the concept of eating a surprise menu in the dark. No, not candlelit romantic darkness but complete and utter pitch black, nebulous sort of darkness. Your eyes don’t adjust and you stay with your sense of sight removed throughout your entire meal. But rewinding back a bit before the actual meal, your booking at the restaurant starts by entering what appears to be a normal bar, only it has lockers where it is a must to put all of your items in. The menu is a set ‘surprise’ of either ‘meat’, ‘vegetarian’, ‘fish’ or chef’s special’. A drink or two later, and you are ushered to a mysterious black curtain by a waiter and asked to hold the shoulder of the person in front. After following the congo line through several black curtains into a dark hole, you will no doubt bump into a table before being not so literally shown to your seat. Tables are so close to each other that the possibility of shoving your hand in your neighbour’s food isn’t particularly low. I opted for the chef’s special menu, which consisted of a three-course surprise meal with two accompanying glasses of wine, a cocktail and some h2o.


The waiters themselves are all visually impaired and rely on the echoes of their clap in the restaurant to determine where they are; this results in the repeating shouting of “SHUT UP!” being beckoned at customers repeatedly throughout your experience. The food was a mystery to work out and could only be what I would have guessed to be jelly, my Nan’s roast beef and some scraggly sort of cabbage. I mainly had to work that out by eating it with my hands after too many attempts of stuffing an empty fork in my mouth. By the time dessert had arrived on the table, several groups had left after being too scared and a group of Essex girls had been kicked out after starting a food fight and “wasting such delicious French food”. The experience itself was truly unique and it was refreshing to not have to wipe my mouth after every forkful of food or watch how quickly I drank my wine.


Upon leaving the restaurant, a guy at the bar will sinisterly ask you what you thought you ate and scoff in your face with disgrace at your lack of a cultured or well-educated palette before showing you a bill which is pure daylight robbery. The menu changes every three months and gets more exotic every time so for all you surprise-lovers out there, don’t worry yourselves when I tell you what was on my menu; it will have changed at least once since then. My menu had comprised of a scallop starter, a main of wagyu beef, ostrich steak and blue fin shark sectioned off on my plate and a dessert of a triple chocolate tower and cube of jelly. I was beaming knowing that I had now tried shark and the world’s best beef and the food that I had once shoved off as cheap was now tingling my taste buds; all of a sudden the food I just had, tasted incredible to me. I would have attached some pictures of the food, but they’re all black. To sum up, it’s expensive but an experience and you get to try cool food. Do it. 


Tamsin Wressell