Dans le Noir had been on my to-do list in London ever since I saw the film About Time ages ago. I usually hate the romantic comedy genre, but for some reason (perhaps the American publisher and English time traveller protagonists have something to do with it) I found this film absolutely charming. I think I’ve seen it at least eight times by now. It took a while, but I finally found someone else as interested in the film and dining in pitch blackness as I was. When we arrived at Dans le Noir of the first questions asked was if we had seen the film! I was quite pleased.
We had to put everything, especially light producing devices like phones or watches, into a locker and then we were guided through a couple of curtains and into the dining room. I knew it would be dark, but I didn’t realise just how dark it is in pitch blackness. It is really amazing how seldom I’m in complete darkness. Even at night, there is always the blue glow of chargers and the illumination of moonlight or streetlights spilling in through my curtains. This was complete and total darkness. All of the waiters are blind and this experience is said to emulate living without vision. Walking in, we has to hold shoulders with the person in front of us as our waiter guided us to the chair. Right away, I realised how difficult it was to rely on sense of touch only. We sat down across from each other and tried to figure out how far away we were based upon talking and reaching our hands out. I think it was quite close. We were a bit freaked out at first because we had absolutely no idea where we were in the room nor what was around us. From the sounds of other people talking, we knew there were some others in the room, but not how many. There was one teeny tiny red light on the ceiling, probably the size of a needle point. Eventually, I started barely making out shadows, but they were very faint and I had to really, really look for them.
They brought our starter and we had a hard time using fork and knife, so we ended up using our hands most of the time, trying to figure out what it was. We could tell that there was some strawberry, mushroom, peas, onion, and baked cheese. We accurately guessed mozzarella. We learned little tips as we went along, like to put your finger in the water glass while filling it to tell how much we were pouring. When our main came, we also mostly used our hands so we could figure out what it was. We detected Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, snap peas, water crest, and some sort of rice dish. I accurately guessed risotto. Which means that we ate risotto with our hands. I feel like that’s the only dining establishment in the world where that would be even slightly sociably acceptable.
Around this time, our table started to fill with other guests. Part of the charm of this establishment is sharing your table with random people and interacting without seeing them. As far as we could hear, we were the only Americans. We met another English lit degree, a couple planning a US road trip, and uni students from Nottingham. Our dessert was slightly harder to guess, but we figured out most of it. It turned out to be some mango panna cotta thingie with some white chocolate and fruity bit. I realised how much I rely on my sight, but also how well other senses can do when sight is taken away.
Earlier this week, I took a day trip to Bristol. I mostly spent the day just wandering around. The town is lovely, right upon the water. It was really sunny that day and much warmer that most days in England. I would consider living in Bristol. It was breathable, not only because of the clean seaside air, but also the shops were American-sized and less crowded, meaning they weren’t the hole-in-the-wall sized shops crammed with millions of people. I don’t think we encountered any other Americans there…I like being a novelty. ;) I’m hoping to get back to Bristol soon to see the steamship and suspension bridge for which the city is famous.
Bristol has two unicorns on their city hall. I didn't ask questions, just took photos.
Earlier in the week, I nipped over to Trafalgar Square in order to witness World Pillow Fight Day. It was bizarre to see a bunch of people carrying pillows in front of the national gallery! We chose not to participate because the event was classified as unsanctioned and there were police warning about civil unrest charges. We didn’t want to get deported! From our perch up the stairs, we got a great view of the pillow fight, as well as PETA protesting the use of down.
My next adventure is another trip to Scotland, this time with a couple of my flat mates. Who knows what adventures we’ll get ourselves into!
Hi, I’m Crystal! I love to travel and am currently a graduate student in Scotland. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 27 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHappy Travels, Crystal
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