A unique dining concept that involves blindfolds and started in Switzerland more than two decades ago is coming to Vancouver as a discovery experience next week.
The Dining in the Dark event, to be hosted by Fable Diner & Bar (755 Richards Street) for three nights, promises to “elevate your meal to a whole new level”, according to Fable’s website.
The event is run by Fever, which describes itself as “the leading global live-entertainment discovery platform”. The company produces ticketed events in dozens of cities internationally.
The experience—in which diners are ushered into a dark room lit only by candles, then blindfolded and served a three-course meal—is supposed to allow diners’ senses of taste and smell to take over after their sight is removed and intensify the dining experience.
That sense augmentation/compensation, according to Fever, should benefit the 80 percent of people who “eat with their eyes”.
Perhaps ironically, the whole “dark dining” movement started as an experience to give sighted people insight into the daily realities for blind and partially sighted people.
A blind Swiss pastor, Reverend Jorge Spielmann, opened a dark restaurant, The Blind Cow, in Zurich in 1999 after hosting similar dinners for friends at his home. Though the restaurant, in an unused church, was initially designed as a facility for blind people and employed almost all blind staff, it became popular with sighted people because of the learning experience.
Spielmann encouraged that aspect of his venture, and the restaurant’s subsequent popularity sparked similar projects worldwide. Berlin, New York, San Francisco, and many other cities soon had dark-dining facilities. In Canada, restaurants like O.Noir and Dark Table opened in various cities (there is a Dark Table in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood, at 2611 West 4th Avenue).
The dining concept is mostly touted now for its sensory appeal in terms of savouring flavour components and realizing how much of a part eyes play in terms of how food is experienced.
At Fable Diner & Bar, the three Dining in the Dark nights take place Wednesday evenings only, on June 29, July 6, and July 27. Tickets are $80; go here to reserve a spot.
Diners will choose from one of three menus (though the actual dishes and ingredients are kept secret): Green (vegan), Blue (seafood), and Red (meat). All have a starter, a main, and dessert, and feature such descriptors as “will catch you by surprise”, “flavours you know and love presented in surprising textures”, and “a combination of sweet and savoury that will make your mind spin”.