What's the most unique dining concept that you've tried? A dining hall inside a giant aquarium? A cat or dog cafe? Food served in miniature toilet bowls? Floating restaurant, perhaps? Garden Cafe, maybe? What about dining without seeing anything? Yes! You read it right! Dining in complete darkness where you will not be able to take pictures of your food, no IG worthy restaurant interiors, no flat lays, no nothing! Complete darkness without knowing what you'll have. Strange? Cool? Yes, please? No, thank you?
Got the chance to partake in one very cool and unique dining experience in Manila during their media launch last week - DINE IN THE DARK MANILA. I got an invite from looloo and I was so giddy to go! Noche - Dine in the Dark x looloo - bring it on!
Noche - Dine in the Dark Manila is the first and only restaurant in Manila that lets customers dine in complete darkness. Partnering with Resources for the Blind, their goal of reducing the unemployment rate of differently abled individuals, especially the visually impaired ones was realized by having all of their servers come from this organization.
|Braille Alphabet c/o Resources for the Blind|
The experience started with a call time of 7PM at A Venue Suites. We were ushered to a restaurant at the 4/F for briefing and waiting. There they explained what will happen, asked for our preferred menu, and got us acquainted with Resources for the Blind. They even gave us a sheet with braille alphabet and another sheet with a message for us to uncover! Pretty cool if you ask me. We chose our preferred menu - we went a little adventurous so we opted for the Chef's Surprise - a little chit chat then off we went!
Ascended a floor higher, we needed to leave ALL of our belongings. Since there will be no blind folds and the place will be pitch black in darkness, we were not allowed to bring anything that might emit even the slightest hint of light. Then, someone briefed us about the table setting and gave some reminders for a better dining experience. I was just so excited but at the same time nervous because I haven't experienced anything like it before. Take out the sense of sight and all your other senses will go over drive! That thought made me giddy and made me wonder how dining in such a set-up will be like!
Before we went in, we were introduced to our server - Carlos. Carlos was the one assigned to take us to our table, serve our food, refill our glasses with water and help us with any issues at all. And so we were all set! We held on to Carlos, got through layers after layers of thick curtains, followed the instructions of Carlos and finally got seated! Whiw! We relaxed and tried to adjust to the darkness and it was amazing how dark it was - totally dark! I barely saw the silhouette of my friend.
We started our 3 course meal with an appetizer, followed by the main dish, mocktail then dessert. Since I'm not able to see anything, I used my sense of smell and touch to try to figure out the dishes. I used my hands for the texture followed by a good sniff to get more clue. It was fun!
We went all crazy trying to figure out what we were about to eat but since I was the adventurous type, or maybe just really PG, I didn't hesitate to try each and every piece of food on my plate. "Something is soft on top of a bread? Oh wait and there's this hard-crunchy stuff at the side! It's a sandwich! Oh wait it's not! It's too mushy! But something smells so citrusy or is that mushroom in there?"
I'm proud to say that I think I finished everything that was on my plate for each course. Since I can't see and I merely tried to guess the serving portions by holding whatever I can, trying to survey the contents of my plate, I think I got lost and munched and munched until there was nothing left! It's amazing how surprised we were when we wanted more but there was nothing left and we were guessing if we ate too much LOL
"Pork? Chicken? Oh the portions are so tender! But I'm sure it's pork or maybe beef? Errr no it's pork I'm sure! And my gosh the portions are huge! This is good stuff, good tender, really tender meat! And oh my gosh I finished everything!"
Dessert was easy. Since I love sweets, It was easy to guess what was in there - three small potions, all sweet and good!
When we were satisfied and done eating, we relaxed a bit and called our server - Carlos. He ushered us out of the dark room and I was so relieved to finally see some light! We even lost track of the time! We were inside for a good 1.5 to 2 hrs! As soon as we got out, a table filled with the food served greeted us. It was fun to discover that we were right in guessing some of the food BUT OMG! I can't believe I guessed some incorrectly when I was so sure! It's mind blowing how unpredictable your sense of taste can go when you don't get to see the food that you're eating. It's misleading but it was totally fun!
So it's true, in this day and age of digital exposure, we tend to rely on our vision to judge, decide and enjoy. DINE IN THE DARK MANILA will bring you back to the basics - enjoying a nice conversation with your dinner date with no digital interruptions, appreciating your food without bias and just get into a world that's totally different from your daily grind. It was relaxing and I honestly enjoyed it. I can't say that the food was show stopper but it was good nonetheless. I don't mind getting the 5 course meal next time. The experience was totally worth it plus that fact that you're giving these folks from Resources for the Blind do some worthwhile stuff for themselves, it's worth every penny.
P.S. They have a Mystery Menu that even has braille alphabets! Before going to the room, you will be asked for your preference - Meat, Fish, Vegetarian or Chef's Surprise. Then choose your course - 2,3 or 5! They opened to the public on Friday (Oct. 14) and will operate every Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays on a strictly reservation basis only with two dinner services each day - 6PM and 8PM.
> 2 course (Main & Dessert) option for an opening promo price of PHP699 instead of PHP999.00
> 3 course (most recommended- see above) option is in an opening promo price of PHP999.00 instead of PHP1,499.00
> 5 course option (For the grand adventurer)for a promo price of PHP1,499 instead of PHP1,999
Click HERE to book a slot NOW!
5 out of 5 Stars for Noche - Dine in the Dark Manila!
--- Noche - Dine in the Dark Manila: The A. Venue Suites, Salamanca St. cor. Gen. Luna St., Makati City
*** website: click HERE
*** email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*** phone: +63 02 4030808