It is some minutes to 7 pm on Thursday and I am walking towards Soi Restaurant at dusitD2 Nairobi, excited for what I am sure will be a thrilling and fun evening .It is the launch of their dining in the dark experience,part of the #dusitD2moments.
The first dining in the dark experience was held in Paris,France in 1997 and over the years the idea has been taken up by many other restaurants around the world in order to deliver a novel and multi sensory experience to their diners.
The French call it “dans le noir” which in English translates to in the dark.
As the hostess at Soi was walking me to my table ,the questions swirling in my mind were :
What do I expect from my first dining in the dark experience ?
What really happens at a dining in the dark experience ?
What happens when you cannot see what is on your plate , does it really heighten your enjoyment of food ?
Seated with me at Soi the Thai Restaurant are other food bloggers like Susan Wong Editor at Capital Lifestyle,Kaluhi of Kaluhi’s Kitchen,Katy Fentress of Yummy Magazine and Ravneet Sehmi of The Asian Weekly ,we are on our second course , and we are trying to guess what it is on our plates and sharing it with Karim the F & B Director.
We are clearly getting something right guessing from the encouraging response we get from him who though he does not tell us exactly what is on our plates is keenly following the progress of our meal and making sure we are comfortable,that we know exactly where our plates are placed,ensuring we have our drinks and his cheerful banter keep us engaged and relaxed throughout the course of the meal.
Karim has such a delightful and engaging personality , has worked in a number of countries and has a genuine love for great food an interview with him is something I am looking forward to doing.
On our second course I am chewing on something really delicious – a vegetable wrap with a filling of what tastes like pork or is it chicken I cannot tell as clearly I am in the dark (pun intended).
Later after the plates for this course have been cleared, we find out that it was a salad of spicy grilled pork with Tom Yum paste made by the chef whom Karim introduces as Supa Chai .
All food at dining in the dark experiences is served in bite sized pieces ,has no bones and you can use your hands (we got hot towels before this course) . I used my fingers to finish my prawns and egg fried rice with a thick red curry and relished every bite of it.
This course was pretty hilarious because around me I kept hearing prawns being mentioned , I had not yet started on mine and I kept thinking..what are these guys talking about…where are my prawns?!
The dining in the dark experience at dusitD2 will be happening on the 1st Thursday of every month, officially it begins with the first dining in the dark experience on the 8th of this month (be sure to make your reservations early).
We had a connoisseur of Asian food on our table and she got the third course which was chicken wonton soup right on the first few seconds of this course .Wontons are little squares of dough and can be filled with chicken ,pork,shrimp or vegetables the edges are brushed with some water and crimped to seal in the fillings ,they are boiled and served with soup.This course was delightfully delicious and got rave reviews from everyone at the table and I remember getting surprised then disappointed when I started scraping the bottom of the bowl with the soup spoon and finding that the delightfully delicious soup was over!
Wontons can also be served deep-fried or baked with a sauce.
Would I do it again ?
A definite yes , the dusitD2 will be offering a new menu for each dining in the dark experience in the coming months and with 2 new chefs ,diners will be getting some really great things on the menu.
My suggestion when you are making your reservations would be to go for the experience as a group ,either as a family,a group of friends or with your colleagues from work ,that way you get to share your experience through out the course of the meal.
Overall ,it was a great experience and I would definitely go back.
It had me paying more attention to my food,I remember trying to use my sense of smell to try to guess what was on my plate every time we got a new course and deliberately taking longer to chew my food and getting thrilled with the burst of flavors on my palate through out and I realized how powerful our senses are and how little use we make of our other senses when enjoying food.