I have dined under the stars, by candlelight, fairy lights, natural light, bright fluorescents, even by the light of my laptop on a few sad long work nights but never with the complete absence of light.
Since the late 1990s, the dark dining concept has been making its way around the world, starting in Europe, with customers dining in a dark restaurant, not being able to see the food they are eating. The theory behind the novel approach is that the removal of vision enhances the other senses and increases gastronomic enjoyment.
Now the dining-in-the-dark experience is coming to Canberra for three nights in March and April. A secret venue in the heart of the city will host the aptly named ‘Pitch Black’ event. Each dining experience lasts 90 minutes, giving diners ample time to get comfortable with their new surroundings and enjoy a 2-course meal.
There is an option of three set menus, and although secret, dietary requirements can be catered for and guests have an option of meat, seafood, or vegetarian meals. Diners will also have the option to pre-order all their favourite drinks to accompany their food before entering the dark dining room.
There will be no food snaps or evidence to share on social media of the event allowed, so Insta-happy snappers be warned! All diners must hand over phones, watches, and any other light sources beforehand.
Guests will begin the night by entering a warmly lit room before being blindfolded and led by waiters into the dining room where they will be plunged into utter darkness to enjoy an unusual dining experience.
Organisers of Pitch Black say the absence of visual distractions heightens diners’ senses, making for a more pleasurable experience. The focus is instead on the taste, smell, mouthfeel and sound of food, and promoting the art of conversation.
If you are willing to take a stab in the dark (of your fork that is), the Pitch Black event will run on 25 March, and on 1 and 8 April. There are two sittings per night and pre-booking is essential. The cost is $90 per person, purchase tickets online.