A couple of weeks ago I did one of the most unique restaurant reviews, ever, not because I haven’t done one like this before, but because it was indeed unique in its concept and one of a kind in our KL.
Dining in the dark is a concept quite old in KL, 4 years, but its roots come from Berlin, Germany.
People told me about dining in the dark and all kinds of interesting experiences but I never had the chance to try it until now.
The entrance is almost undetectable in the busy street of Changkat, but when you go up the stairs you have the feeling that something is about to happen and its not just the usual food curiosity. You feel like a child waiting to see the surprise.
The staff kindly explained to us that we will be escorted into the restaurant by a blind waiter and we just have to follow him and his instructions. He will explain to us how to get around in 100% completely dark space and be able to actually eat something, without making a complete mess. Before this we played a couple of games prepared by the staff in the restaurant lobby to get us warmed up a bit and to make us use our sensorial capabilities while having our eyes closed and not being able to see anything.
When we entered we realised that without our waiter we wouldn’t have been able to reach our table and getting out of the restaurant would have been a mission impossible film.
First, they brought us the appetisers, four of them in small portions aligned on a plate and we played with the food more than we enjoyed it because we were always trying to guess what is it we are eating. And it’s not at all easy!
The food was good but in the same time so diverse, and it almost felt that I didn’t know what I ate in the end. We had chicken, lamb, fish, shrimp, oysters, octopus, in total five types of deserts, three types of main dishes, two soups and the four appetisers. It was a food galore and our taste buds were in shock. The funniest part that simply left me astounded is when I realised I had confused chicken with pork during our main course.
In the end it was hard to choose a favourite dish because of the huge diversity. All together 14 dishes.
I can say the Emperor Fish was indeed a good choice, very soft and with a beautiful sauce of caramelised onions perfumed with cinnamon, and the second one was the Carrot flavoured rigatoni with octopus. Of course we couldn’t guess the octopus. The deserts were also diverse, the mango and passion fruit crumble was a great choice. The appetisers had an interesting combination of tastes and the orange pomegranate and lettuce salad was one of our favourite. The smoked mackerel was also very juicy, nearly melting in your mouth.
Also, for some reason I was eating two times faster than usual, probably because I was all the time in the dark and my subconscious was telling me to finish fast and get out of that unknown universe where you couldn’t see anything. The light background music was indeed comforting and gave us a feeling of being in a restaurant.
The concept is unique. Its not about food, but about getting in touch with something that you probably don’t fully use every day, your senses. It’s about learning to use and understanding your senses, while having a dinner in a fancy and yet intriguing location.
It was dark, very dark, black. The music was quiet and relaxed, you could sense that everything was clean and proper but you couldn’t see anything. For the concept, it deserves the highest mark.
Appearance of the Establishment: 8/10
The location is at the centre of the centre, easy to reach. At the first floor you would find the staff greeting you in a elegant long lobby and a couple of couches where you could sit and relax before the start of your dinner.
Marcus, our waiter was very professional, he knew everything about the food and he made us feel great with little jokes and details about the restaurant and himself.
I can’t say a lot about the food for two reasons. One, it was so diverse that in the end it was quite hard to remember which one was the best or not. Even after the staff showed us on the menu exactly what we ate, it was still blurry in our mind because of the entire experience and the lack of sight. I now know for a fact that the expression “We eat with our eyes” is perfectly true. Because of this, in the beginning our food seemed to not have a strong taste. We tried to constantly guess what it was that we are eating and in the end we felt that we couldn’t “taste” the food as much as we would have liked. Reading about this, I found some interesting articles. “People’s perception is typically dominated by what their eyes see”, writes Charles Spence, Oxford professor of experimental psychology. “This seems to make sense. Our eyes see the food. They tell our brain what it will taste like via a whole series of learned and natural responses, and we taste what we think we should.” Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/jan/28/food-multi-sensory. What I want to say is that if the food would have been amazing, we wouldn’t have been able to taste it and perceive it that way unless we had been able to see it first.
Considering you are part of a unique experience, the price reflects this but it’s not overwhelming. It is similar with other fine cuisine restaurants in the area.