The second destination I want to take you to is the restaurant Tenebris, which offers dinners in the dark. As a frank gourmand, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. During the dinners, the restaurant guests do not see the meals they are served. It is presumed that excluding vision will heighten the other senses and increase the pleasure from the food. The idea was born in Paris and it dates back to 1997. In 2003 the first international chain of restaurants in the dark was founded and in partnership with the Foundation for blind people.
At the entrance
I had no prior expectations when I entered Tenebris but the culinary journey left me speechless. Upon arrival a smiling manager briefly introduced the concept and rules during the dinner to us and collected any personal belongings that can emit light.
Waiters are unsighted and take you to your table, helping you move in the dark. Throughout the experiment you can put yourself in their shoes and face their daily challenges, perceive the world through their prism. It is quite sobering and just makes you appreciate many things we take for granted. Meeting with blind waiters debunks all stereotypes and prejudices and shows you that they are in fact the positive and smiling people who have learned to deal with the unknown. It is impressive how they can interact with objects and communicate by relying only on their other senses and trusting other people.
A five-course menu with countless culinary surprises awaits you at the table. There is unprecedented darkness everywhere (I didn’t picture it like that – I expected that some ray would penetrate from somewhere) You can’t see your hand, your glass, let alone your plate. You cannot identify your utensils or do not want and decide that you will eat with your fingers – it is allowed, and no one will see how you spill some drops over your new dress: D
Over time you understand that it was a very good idea – to experience the meals in an even more unusual and unique way. You can feel the differences between them, not only in taste, smell and temperature, but also in texture and structure.
Darkness changes the way you interact not only with dishes but with others on the table. The setting predisposes to sharing food and revelations, but the funniest part is assumptions about what you actually eat. The likelihood of thinking that you ate exotic vegetables instead of kachamak is very high. It is also possible to be angry that you were served cold soup simply because you felt the yogurt on the surface.
For the last remaining, there is a presentation of the menu that satisfies your curiosity and answers how well trained your taste buds were.
My dialogues with darkness this time went better than I expected. The flotation and dark dinner proved to me that the dark can be not only scary, but also exciting and provoking your thoughts.
If you have somehow skipped part 1, here it is – Dialogues with the dark – flotation.