Last week I was asked if I would be free to attend dinner Darwins on Aungier Street, a restaurant I have only ever had great meals in. So of course I said Yes, the twist I was asked to dine in the dark. A concept I have heard of but yet to experience. My initial thoughts were this is ingenious I can’t wait, but on my way to the restaurant nerves kicked in. Why? I guess taking away one of your primary senses can be daunting but also a learning experience but it was all for a good cause Sightsavers.
Once we arrived we were warmly greeted and seated with a lovely soft fruity glass of wine. Great this will help to relax my nerves. This is where Torres wines who were also part of the experience came in, they were getting clever by having cloth covering the label so you couldn’t see so here was your first blind test. A non-alcoholic wine (Torres ‘Natureo’.5%) did not pop into my head. A fresh clean wine with floral notes, pear and mango got the palate warmed up for the evening. We were introduced to the Brand ambassador who had flown in from Barcelona for the event we were given a brief overview of how the evening would work since it was a first for us all.
We were given blindfolds which would be on for over an hour but we were free to take them off if we felt uncomfortable. Although afterwards we were told we were the first group not to have done so. Working and studying wine over the years has taught me that if I am struggling with a nose or palate I close my eyes to focus on what I’m smelling or tasting so I was somewhat used to discovering flavours this way. What really excited me and metaphorically opened my eyes was the many textures, the mouth feel, it was really odd but interesting. There was no crazy or unusual food most of it you would have when you go out to dinner or cook at home.
From the wine angle they chilled the reds to see if you could be fooled plus to show the journey one glass of wine can take from chilled to room temperature. It was quite a unique dinning and tasting experience. Would I do it again? Yes, and I will try it at home as well, to really get the textures of my food, I know I will see the food but tasting and feeling is also part of the whole dining experience and taking away one sense not only heightens the others but focuses the mind.
I encourage you all to try it out whether at home or at an experience. I was nervous but by the end I wanted to keep on the blindfold until I had finished my dessert. Apart from enjoying a new experience I felt quite relaxed, so with a gentle walk home I was ready for a good night’s sleep.
Photo Gallery of Darwins Dine in the Dark
80 Aungier St
Suzi is passionate about wine, beer and whiskey too, not forgetting a love of food and travel. She has been a part of this industry for a little over 10 years. She has worked on level 4 in WSET during this time and regularly hosts tastings and staff training in these sectors. She has recently started a blog on all wine, beer and spirit related beverages. You can follow her blog at suzisgrapecrush or follow Suzi on Twitter.