The concept of dining in complete darkness and relying on your other senses other than sight (taste, touch, smell and sound) is relatively unheard of in Singapore since most of us are foodies who eat with our eyes first. After all, don’t we feel more at ease knowing what goes into our food before we put them into our mouth? Nonetheless, this multi-sensory dining promises an experience like none other – Imagine dining in pitch darkness without the disturbance of any technological devices ( say no to mobile phones/ tablets/ cameras!) and where the lack of sight will heighten your other senses so that you may appreciate your food even better! Even though I’m no foodie myself, I was, however, sold to the allure and mystery of dining in the dark!
We have the owners of Nox – Dine in the Dark to thank for introducing this unique dining concept to our shores. This 4 months old establishment offers a
3-course prix fixe dinner (which basically means the menu is fixed for all unless you make any mention of any special dietary requirements during your reservation) at $78++ per person. The Christmas special menu is going at $88++ per person. Drinks are charged separately. For those who are less adventurous when it comes to food, do note that you will not be informed of the menu prior to the dinner so do go for this experience with an open mind! 🙂
Upon my arrival at Nox, I was brought to the lounge, which also serves as a waiting area, where the hostess will explain the dining concept to you. Over here, you may also order 1 of their signature cocktails to enjoy before you plunge into the world of darkness. If cocktails ain’t your cup of tea (like yours truly), not to worry as you will also be served with the amuse bouche (an appetizer) to whet your appetite. At this junction, everyone is required to place their belongings into a locker as the owners are serious about shutting out every shard of light from the dining rooms to ensure that the dining in the dark experience does not get compromised in any way. To all food bloggers out there, be warned that this restriction might cause a mini heartache as it will mean that you will not be able to take pics of the food to document on your blogs!
Nox has a team of visually-impaired servers to run the operations in the dining rooms as they are capable of working in absolute darkness. My assigned server, Rahamat, is very hospitable and was always on hand to attend to my every need and request. It’s evident that he takes pride in his job and I certainly think it’s great that Nox has provided ample work opportunities for the visually-handicapped.
Now, I wasn’t joking when I mentioned about dining in complete darkness. The room, which can accommodate up to 60 people, is devoid of any forms of light other than the green ‘EXIT’ signs and red lights from the infrared video cameras. This is exactly what I was faced with throughout my dining experience at Nox!
It probably took me about a good 5 minutes for my eyes to get adjusted to the darkness. All the years of playing blind-fold games (you know, where you are blind-folded and have to place your trust in your partner as he/she guides you through a challenging obstacle) certainly paid off as I found myself surprisingly relaxed and calm with the darkness. No panic attacks!
The challenge came when I had to orientate myself with the placement of the cutlery, drinks and food. One wrong move and you might get the shock of your life when you accidentally spill a cup of water onto yourself! Trust me, you wouldn’t want that happening to you! Back to the food – Each course comes with 4 bite-sized portions of different food placed on a platter (12 bite-sized portions of food for the 3-course dinner) and I was advised to have my meal in a clockwise direction. Now, this is where the real fun begins as I began my quest to guess the ingredients that I was being served, using only my sense of taste and smell. Well, more of my taste buds than anything else. Fortunately for me, I’m very open-minded when it comes to food (I have tried everything from fried scorpions and insects to alligator and even rabbit meat!) so I wasn’t hesitant about gobbling down the food! Having said that, I must admit that this must be 1 of my least glamorous dining moments as I had to lift the bowl very closely to my mouth to either scoop up or slurp my food! Lol. Very unglam, indeed.
Not wanting to give away too much about the food, I would say that the cuisine is predominantly Western-influenced. Despite reviews that the food is just average, I actually enjoyed the fusion of the different tastes and textures that went into the 12 bite-sized portions! Good enough for my palate!
More importantly, the lack of any devices meant that one can fully focus not only on the dinner but also the conversations that you have with your dining partner(s). Truth to be told, I’m so guilty of having my mobile phone with me 24/7 and I must admit that it can be very disruptive so 1 of my takeaway from this experience is to take baby steps to live in a gadget-free world, at least when it comes to meal times or precious moments with loved ones. To be fully immersed in the sharing of experiences and topics over a hearty meal, without the distraction of any gadgets – This is truly something that I would like to apply in my everyday life.
All guessing games will have its conclusions. Likewise, I was brought back to the lounge after my dinner and greeted by the restaurant manager who gave me a form to fill up and guess the food that I have eaten. After which, there was a sharing session where he would share with me pictures of the food and verify how well I did in my food guessing attempt! Well, I must confessed that my guesses were pretty good for someone who is neither a foodie or cook! Hahaha. Besides, it was a lot tougher to identify the ingredients that goes into the food without the benefit of sight.
This unique dining experience definitely exceeds my expectations and it’s no wonder that it is currently rated the top #5 restaurant to visit in Singapore on TripAdvisor! I cannot wait to start introducing this hidden gem to my family and friends! 🙂
Nox – Dine in the Dark
269 Beach Road, Singapore 199546
Tuesday – Sunday: 6pm – Late