Dining in the Dark

Sight. Something I personally feel we take for granted at times. My perspective of the gift of sight had altered dramatically within a o...

Sight. Something I personally feel we take for granted at times. My perspective of the gift of sight had altered dramatically within a one-and-a-half hour time frame.

I had just experienced probably the most amazing dinner; and that in itself is an understatement. Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Dining in the Dark transcends the boundaries of a normal fine dining experience. 

From the moment we entered the restaurant, we were greeted with quaint hallways and a peaceful ambience. The staff were warm and hospitable as they guided as through a debrief of what we signed up for, and also, to initiate some sort of 'ice-breaker' activities. However, these activities challenged our sense of taste, touch, and smell. We were given three tasks:

1. Figure out the four ingredients used in the complimentary drink we were given [TASTE]
2. Finding at least two paper clips in a container of rice whilst blindfolded [TOUCH]
3. Recall what smell the candles lighted up along the hallways gave off [SMELL]

If we didn't have to figure out the ingredients that composed our drink, we would have finished the drink in a few gulps because it tasted so good and refreshing. The blindfold paperclip challenge brought about laughter and also gave us a taste of relying on your other senses once sight had been eradicated, something we would be doing for the next hour and a half over dinner in a complete, pitch-black room.

And so, the wait was over. All belongings and devices had to be put into a locker to avoid any light being emitted whilst inside the room as other customers were dining in there too. We were introduced to our guide for the night, a sweet lady called Evelyn who in fact, is blind. All the guides employed by Dining in the Dark are blind people who are trained to take care of the customers, act as a waitress, be their human torch to guide us to where we need to be or need to go. Once the door shut, it was complete darkness. It felt like I was in a waking sleep, because I could not even see my hand if I waved it in front of my face. We had to hold the shoulders of the person in front of us, with the guide at the front, to lead us to our table and seats. Once that was sorted, we awaited the start of our four course meal. 

Our guide gave us a brief overview of the layout of our table, indicating where our cutlery, napkin and coaster was. She served us our drinks, and our appetiser to kick to things off. The appetiser consisted of four small bowls placed on a bento box like where each bowl fit into a specific spot on the tray, making it easier for us to feel around. As the rest of the courses came about, our sense of taste, touch, and smell enabled us to carry out discussions about what we think each dish was, followed by reactions to each dish, as well as some scissors paper rock in between each course. The best part is that you can use your fingers to feel the texture of the food, no one can see your table manners in total darkness! The night went by fast, and our final course had been devoured. The reliance of our guide was needed once again to exit the room and have our eyes exposed to light. 

It took us awhile for our eyes to adjust to the dimly lit reception area of the restaurant as any form of light or brightness was a stark contrast to the pitch-black room. We were given the menu of the dishes we were served, and there were exclamations of realisation but also joy when we had guessed certain foods right. 

One of the highlights of the night was the chat with the manager of the restaurant, where he shared the efforts gone into making a room totally black and sound proof, as well as the inspiration behind setting up Dining in the Dark. What he said was really enlightening. Giving blind people an opportunity to do something with something they lack, is truly such an amazing perspective to undertake. Being completely reliant on a blind person who is trained to cope with pitch-black darkness gives them a sense of self-worth and fulfilment, and allows us to appreciate our sense of sight God so graciously gave us. He also shared how when he sees couples or groups having dinner, he realises that this generation has been taken over by gadgets. Constant checking of messages, unnecessarily using your phone instead of sustaining conversations over dinner, all contribute to one of the aims of Dining in the Dark. So create conversations, share your experiences and moments, relive what life was like before technology took over.

50, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang, 
50200 Kuala Lumpur
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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