Into the Darkness

Disclaimer: Don’t worry, this post ain’t related to any kind of dark power, magic or any other horrifying stuffs. So… continue scrolling in peace. 🙂

Having stayed in Singapore for 8 years, I have always been impressed on the varieties of dining out options it offers. For a country as small as this little red dot, Singapore has grown into an international haven for the foodies. From the traditional food court for simple and cheap local delights, the recent craze of ramen (Japanese noodle) huts and coffee places, to the top-notch Michelin star restaurants; Singapore gastronomy business indeed never sleeps. Now, living thousand miles away from Singapore doesn’t keep me away from the updates of new cool restaurants popping up there (thanks to the social network and my circle of friends who always likes to ‘boast’ around). Well, this was how I came across Nox, Dine in the Dark.

Nox opened less than a year ago in Singapore. The concept was not entirely new. Indeed, there were several restaurants located across the globe that are using the same concept. I think I’ve heard it before too somewhere, but it was not until recently when I heard a real experience directly from my friend that I was curious to read further about it. Word of mouth is still as powerful as ever!

So, for those of you who are on the same boat as me, and as curious as ever.. let’s reveal this darkness!

DarkImagine a view like this for dinner – a total pitch darkness. You can’t see the cutlery, the table, the food, not even your own hand in front of you.

The concept of eating in a total darkness was originated in 1997 in France, as a support initiative on visual disabilities. Started with its aim to raise awareness towards visual impairment, the concept has now evolved into giving a transformational experience where customers have to rely fully on their other senses during eating. It provides a social experience where darkness takes away all preconceptions and sets in motion conviviality completely free of all prejudices (Nox, 2014).

As it heightens other senses, it also encourages interaction and communication among guests (yes, this includes an hour or two without your smartphone!) Above all, one will appreciate his/her eyes even more after. As one blogger mentioned about her dining-in-the-dark experience:

“I love my eyes more than anything else. […] We often took advantage of our eyes and never really “taste” our food. But this has definitely thought me to appreciate our food and ingredients.”  – missthamchiak

Another unique feature of such restaurant is that the customers will be guided and served by blind or visually impaired individuals who have been specially trained to offer guidance and reassurance to sighted guests.

So, how’s the dining experience like?

Before going in to the dining room, customers will be asked to keep all their belongings in the locker and anything that gives out light such as watch, mobile phone, or accessories are not allowed. They will then be guided to the room where they will have their meals in a total darkness. Individual dishes will be served to participants and they will have to locate the correct cutlery placed in front of them. They will have to manage the pouring of their own drinks, essentially using their hearing and touching senses. Different people will have different reactions to this experience; some could get comfortable pretty easily, while some could experience some fears and moved to tears. In any case, if one feels distressed and too uncomfortable under such situation, he/she could request to be brought back to the outside lounge for a while. At the end of the dining session, customers will then brought back to the light where they will find out about the dishes served to them and discuss their experience among themselves with another round of drinks or snacks.

So, if you want to plunge into an intriguing new world of mystery and sensation you have never experienced before, you just found yourself a new place to hangout!

“The absence of lights let your brilliance self shines so bright. Take away the light does not make things less beautiful, you only have to see them from a different angle.” – Dining in the Dark KL

As interesting as the concept sounds, I could not help but to wonder. Will such concept give a sustainable business model? A new business with unique concept always create a hype that many people want to try on. But once it is over, will customers come back for a repeat experience?

Feel free to share your experience and thoughts in the comment fields! 

– Yuvensianti Therecia

Some restaurants offering dine-in-the-dark concept (list is not exhaustive):

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