Dining in the Dark: Listen-Touch-Smell-Taste

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Reading my own words back on the laptop screen, I move my right index finger over the touch pad to scroll through the text. With my left hand I grab my coffee and take a sip. ‘Bleep’; a message pops up, it’s from my mum. She wants to know if the haze has gone already in KL. I lift my nose and sniff the air; it seems clear today.

Senses and sensations all around us as we know them, all day long, they’re so familiar and common. Have you ever wondered how it would be like, if one of those senses would disappear? Your eye sight, for example? Just close your eyes for a while and notice the impact this has on your remaining senses like touch, smell and hearing… But wait: perhaps it is better if you try that after reading this article!

Hello darkness, my old friend

This evening we are taking our children to a restaurant in Bukit Bintang in KL, called Dining in the Dark. They are 10 and 14 years old, so their ‘mum-I-am-scared-in-the-dark’-days are over. At least, that’s what we hope.

“Hi, and welcome to Dining in the Dark. My name is AK and I am your host this evening.”

AK reaches his hand out to greet us and I realise he cannot see. AK has been blind since birth. We are invited to place our valuables and phones inside a locker, before we start our dinner.

“AK, have you got a menu for us?”
He laughs and says: “No menus, ma’am”. Oh. Ok.

He asks us to follow him inside the restaurant, by placing our hands on each other’s shoulders. Like a mini choo-choo train, we follow our waiter inside a place that seems to be beyond dark. Can I go back? No, I can’t go back.

“Wow mum, look at all those beautiful paintings on the wall…” That’s the voice of my daughter, who’s walking behind me. Her amazing sense of humour is something she must have inherited from the milkman. I can’t even see my own feet, which is freaky, but I put my full trust in AK, who is guiding us through the pitch-black room. How he manages this without bumping into tables and other waiters, is a mystery to me. We’re seated and our feast can begin.

Food, glorious food

Someone or something (but who or what?!) kicks my leg.

“Who did that?”

Silence. And giggles.

“Ouch!”

That sound came from across the table, where I believe my daughter is sitting.

“It wasn’t me…”, my son responds, a bit too quickly.

Before this game ends into tears, AK appears again at the table. His invisible smile somehow radiates with warmth. He announces the first course of the evening, which is a platter with savoury appetisers. After some instructions on how to eat them (anti clockwise) we start our blinded discovery through dark, dark dining land. Without the help of my eyes to take in the deliciousness of my food, I only depend on my taste buds. It seems they’re quite underdeveloped. But in this wonderful moment of mindfulness, I do get a sense of what tomatoes really taste like, I enjoy the crunchiness of flaky pastry and also something that could be fish or chicken. An experience indeed!

After ordering a glass of wine, I wonder how the waiter would put that in front of me, without spilling it all over me. No need to worry; AK tells me exactly where to find my coaster, and yes there it is, at 1 o’clock.

“I will place your wine glass on it now. Enjoy your drink ma’am.”

The waiters are incredible. How do they get around without bumping into each other? Soon, I notice that our waiter AK makes a snappy clicking sound with his tongue, each time he is walking.

“When I walk around, I make this noise, so others know that I am moving. We all recognise each other by the sound we make.”

And… what did we eat?

After our dinner, which takes a good hour, AK bring us out of the room and back into the light of the Dining in the Dark bar.

On the menu, we can now find out what we actually had on our plates. I will never again say anymore that I don’t like duck, because that’s what one of my main dishes was, which was duckilicious.

And the kids, what did they think? On her feedback form, our youngest wrote one comment only: “Scary but cool!”

Tips for when visiting Dining in the Dark:

We thought Dining in the Dark was a great experience – it really got us thinking and it was truly a different experience, that tweens and teens enjoy too. Here are my tips:

Do

  • Bring your (older) children. They will love it. The recommended age is 11+.
  • Come with an open and curious mind.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Unless you’re an expert in walking through pitch-dark rooms on high heels.

Don’t

  • Scream and shout in the dining room (thank you, table number 6). Other guests want to enjoy their dinner too.
  • Try to get up during dinner by yourself. If you need to use the toilet, just call out for your friendly waiter and he will guide you safely out of the room.
  • Wear anything fancy. You may spill food or drinks during your dining experience. You wouldn’t like to ruin that Prada dress, right?

Dining in the Dark
50A Changkat Bukit Bintang
Tel: +60 3-2110 0431
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday:6pm (first seating) – 9.30pm (last seating)

Read more restaurant reviews here!

We were hosted by Dining in the Dark. Opinions, as always, are honest and our own.

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