I haven’t got any plans for an extraordinary Valentine’s Day this year. I haven’t tried to go the extra mile for a few years. I’ve made that mistake before.
A couple of years ago, I thought it’d be a brilliant idea to take my girlfriend to Dans Le Noir for dinner on Valentine’s day.
“Bloody excellent.” I said to myself as I confirmed the booking. And that was the last time I had anything positive to say about that Valentine’s day.
The idea is that you eat completely in the dark. Not even a crack under a doorway gives a slither of light into the dining room. The result being the sense of taste is heightened with the lack of visual stimulation.
You pick either a meat, fish or vegetarian menu. You’re then led into the dining room by a waiter. The waiters are apparently blind, I say apparently because, I spent a long time debating whether or not it was appropriate to ask someone if they were ACTUALLY blind, or if that was just a rumour. Part of the food theatre even?
Anyway, never let the truth get in the way of the good story and all that.
So we’re in complete darkness. Now, I like the dark. It’s not scary. I’m not reduced to a quivering wreck at the thought of the unknown that potentially lingers. The problem is I like darkness when it’s peaceful. This was not that sort of darkness. This was bloody noisy. Conversations crossing the room all caught by my ears. High pitched cackles, low pitched thuds. NOISE.
Turns out the sense of hearing is also heightened in the darkness. I think I’ve been close to a breakdown, but never actually had one. But I can honestly say the noise in that room and the voices stuck in my head were awful. I thought I was going mental.
While I tried to play it cool, my girlfriend told me she wasn’t doing well.
“I’m freaking out. I don’t like this.” She said that as she tried to spoon something off the starter into her mouth. “Bugger. I’VE DROPPED IT AGAIN.”
At this point I’ve been jamming a fork in my cheek for 5 minutes with not even a bean, managing to land in my mouth.
“I hate this.” I said, almost defeated.
“I need the toilet.” Shouted my girlfriend. This was quickly followed by sobbing, and I’d imagine tears. I don’t know, I couldn’t see them. “I’m REALLY hating this.”
At that point, I knew we’d both been beaten by the dark. It was time to leave.
You can’t just leave though. There’s the exit strategy the restaurant have in place for health and safety. And of course, the big reveal.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN EATING?
I wanted to say something like…
“To be honest most of the food ended up on the floor, as you can probably tell from the stab marks in my cheeks.”
Instead, I went for a grip and grin and something like….
“Ahhhh duck! Incredible. Thank you so much.”