In doing some research for this years trip to Vietnam I asked some of my contacts about some interesting hospitality venues to visit and a few people suggested visiting Noir. The thing that makes Noir unique is that it is a dining in the dark experience, one of around 30 in the world.
This experience has been well thought out and begins with you selecting a menu, but not knowing what dishes are on the menu, so I chose the Eastern menu which consists of 11 courses, four starters, four mains and three desserts. I was then prepared for the experience by one of the restaurant owners who offered some advice how to adjust on the journey I was about to undertake.
From here I was introduced to to Tu who would be my waitress for the evening and she took me to my seat in the restaurant. But this is where things get interesting. To enter the restaurant I had to put my hands on Tu’s shoulders and she led me into the restaurant which was pitch black – no phones, no outside light of any kind. Walking past other guests I was taken to my table where Tu assisted me to take my seat.
My meals were served by Tu and I was advised what order to eat the dishes in and at times struggled to do basic things such as find my fork or drink on the table. Mind you, she poured my drink into a glass. It is amazing how not being able to see enhances your other senses as you try to work out what you are eating.
What makes this even more amazing is that Tu is blind.
After the meal I met An who sat with me and went through the menu that I had just consumed. He also answered my questions about the training and operations of such a unique business.
A simply amazing experience and given that it was in the dark I decided not to add an photos of the venue to this post.
Given an important part of the eating experience is visual how did this lack of visual stimuli impact on your food experience? Not just the inability to find your fork but food taste etc.
The darkness heightened sense of hearing and I knew when Tu was coming. Some smells seem sharper and interestingly of all the dishes there was one I was sure I know what it was and I turned out to be wrong in part because I was going on the texture of the meat.