Have you ever dined in a completely pitch black room? I had the chance to do this in Dunkelrestaurant Berlin (dunkel means dark). For those who haven’t tried this experience I highly recommend it because it gives us a better understanding of the experience of the blind and it is also a great ice breaker for new friends to try.
I was fortunate enough to go with some members of the Dinner is Served group in the Willkommen in Berlin, a diplomatic club.
While waiting for others in the group we stayed in the bar area which is lit. This is where you choose your menu for the evening. The choices are poultry, seafood, vegetarian, etc. – however you will not know how they will prepare these items. Each dinner menu also comes with a drink of your choice (beer, wine, water, etc) and dessert.
Once we were complete, a blind waiter came and asked us to form one line, put our hands on the shoulders of the person in front of us and we became a train with the waiter at the head. In a procession we entered the the winding hall into the pitch black dining room. We had to be careful going through the tables so we didn’t bump them.
The waiter sat us down one by one, and told us where to find our food and drinks – by imagining the hands of clock as a guide. Then we were served our food and drink. Some things I found memorable:
- When ordering water, you will have to pour it into your glass from the bottle. My dinner companions did this by placing one finger in the glass so they would know if the glass is full and prevent spilling.
- Since I did not know what I was eating, I felt my plate up before digging in. I would cut a piece of meat and attempt to fork it into my mouth, only to find that the meat was left on the plate. By the end of it, I had many cut up pieces of food, but none in my mouth haha! I ended up picking them up with my hands. You can imagine that dessert (a trifecta of different sweets with some sauces) was amazing and messy – SO worth it! Now I can say that I ate with my hands in front of diplomats. Good thing none of them saw my unlady-like behaviour haha! You gotta do what you gotta do right? =p
- I enjoyed the food and guessing what vegetables we were eating, how the dishes were prepared and spiced and getting to know the ladies of our Willkommen in Berlin group better. Dining in the dark forces you to be a better conversationalist and I felt like we were more open because we were in darkness. After dinner I felt much closer with my dining companions.
- We went back to the bar, and they revealed the details of what was served to us. We were amazed because some of our guesses were correct and some completely wrong haha.
If you would like to try this experience the details for this dunkelrestaurant are below. They have several locations around Germany outside of Berlin. Go as a group, it’s a lot more fun.
DIPLOTIP: When you go into the dark area, keep your eyes closed. If you keep it open like I did, your eyes end up consistently trying to focus and find light. This really strained my eye after and gave me a bit of a headache, which I would have avoided if I just kept my eyes shut.
Have you ever dined in complete darkness? I would love to hear about your experience. Loved it or hated it?