Somewhere they can’t see anything! My esteemed wife’s idea! Brilliant!
A restaurant that is completely without light, with a four course dinner served by blind people.
Hugh Paxton’s Blog began to panic! A four course dinner that includes soup! Wine! Water! Heaps of constantly changing cutlery. My ungainly elbows? My daughter? My wife? Me. Arggh! Complete loss of control!
That’s the point. You focus on not seeing anything.
You don’t choose what you eat, you select from a choice of set courses decided by the chef. Asian, European, Vegetarian, Chef’s Surprise. No further details supplied (apart from questions about food allergies). Annabel said she could eat anything, Midi and I said the same. Annabel opted for West, Midi and I for the Surprise!
No cheating, no lights in pockets, and we promised. I expected muted candles. Our most enigmatic waitress, “Moo,” graciously led us in and away.
When I say completely without light I am not fibbing. Our waitress was indeed called ‘Moo’ and if she had invisible helpers they were equally invisible. They were probably called Khao. That would have given us moocows.
The whole dinner was an initial constant case of where the h*ll? is my soup spoon? And what is this? And I’m getting the hang of this, go left, you’ll hit a cold face towel, inch up and you’ll hit a fork with something on it – I’m passing it to you slowly. Hey, I AM getting the hang of this!
The great thing about this whole experience is that, after touchy, feely instructions from Moo, you have to eat the meal by yourself. No ghostly hand helps you sip soup. Moo explains your navigation techniques course by course and accoutrement by accoutrement. Disasters are yours and yours alone. Any hands you wish to use to grab something slippery or small are unnoticed.
If you wish to try a sip of each other’s wine it involves careful and useful movements. The way my wife’s hand and mine reached out through the ink pitch and made final connection still sends a jolt through my spine. It was like the first hand contact made so many years ago only with one key difference. I wanted to try her Merlot. And she wanted my Chardonnay. And I was a bit concerned that I’d eaten her breadstick. My beloved daughter, Annabel, on the Dark Side of the Moon was still saying things like “This is a Pringle!”
I hope the chef wasn’t listening.
“He’s French! Isn’t deaf!”
The conversation shifts from the normal (never really been a problem in our family) to the Tales of the Unexpected : Annabel: “Do you think we are being watched?” “That’s the stupidest question I’ve ever heard!” “They’re blind!” “But that doesn’t mean they don’t know where you are!”
“This is tofu!” “No I think it’s a dumpling.” “This is so juicy!” “What is?” “The thing I’ve got. It’s like your beef.” “Your beef is better.” “I think my beef’s a pork.”
“It’s like a squid or…a…no it isn’t! It’s like a sort shrimp in a thing like…what is it?”
“No idea, darling, you ordered the Western set…”
This is no place to take your parrot. It will fall asleep immediately. And if somebody fears things that go bump in the night, no way! I heard a thump and ‘Merde!” and Moo reassured me it “was a new table coming in.” Annabel said “Don’t say anything about frogs!” “I didn’t say anything about frogs!” “Don’t start!“
Dine in the Dark Advisory: For Heaven’s sake don’t douse yourself in perfume or aftershave or almond vanilla Bath and Bodyworks marshmallow hand cleanser. The French say ‘the first taste is with the eye.’ For most other mammals the first taste is with the nose! A hyena gets it seven miles away.
Here a nose is most useful.
When the four courses are done and you conga out holding the shoulders of your guide through thick curtains and blink back into light and colour, you think “That was a blind date with a difference!”
Then, politely, the staff show you what you have just eaten.
You see the courses and they explain all the ingredients! And you think “If I’d seen that in sunlight or even lowlight I’d have scoffed the lot in ten minutes without bothering with any conversation! Gorgeous!”
I’d attach a photo but there are constraints. No light within the restaurant. And like audience members in Agatha Christie’s theatre play, The Mouse Trap, all dark diners are requested to observe discretion and secrecy. It would spoil things. Although I can give you one hint.
There weren’t any Pringles. Unless I failed to find them. Or my daughter got there first.
Here’s to dining in the dark!
Love from Bangkok!
And thanks to my beloved wife to opening my eyes once again to her constant potential for being a surprise!