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The American


30 – 31 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU


www.london.danslenoir.com


DANS LE NOIR? I


could never keep my French prep- ositions straight. SUR la plage


was the only one I could remember thanks to the song. Now I will never forget DANS le noir thanks to the restaurant. “In the dark” conjures up so


many images and eating in pitch black, guided by blind waiters, totally lit my fire. My guest, a Nor- wegian sheep farmer, was terrified! The concept was developed by


Edouard de Broglie of Ethic Invest- ment Group to raise awareness for the blind. It certainly raised mine. One is greeted in a lounge by


friendly, sighted personnel. The menu, developed by Chef Olivier Romain offers a choice of fish and seafood, vegetarian, meat or chef’s surprise and options from 2 courses at £46 to a 5 course tasting menu at £89. We chose the fish degustation package for £72 which included a cocktail, 3 courses, 2 glasses of wine, water and coffee or tea. We were presented to our blind waiter and, hand on shoulder, heart


aflutter, led through a double set of curtains and…blackout. Total. Plenty of noise from the other din- ers, but not a single ray of light We were seated at the end of a


communal table and informed that our napkin and cutlery were directly in front of us. I felt my way on the table and found my napkin but no cutlery. Turns out the woman next to me had taken it. I thought, “Great! Here I am, defenceless in the dark, and I’m sitting next to a klepto!” With a bit of fumbling, we got ourselves sorted and started on the small talk. Jen and Rob told us they were solicitors in training. I said I looked exactly like Brad Pitt. They were lovely. I’m a liar. We had a ball. Our cocktail arrived. A bit like rum punch without the punch. In fact, nothing I ate or drank


knocked me out. I had expected a culinary journey that would awaken my 4 under developed senses and I got nothing like it. No taste explosions, flash of hot


Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick


or cold, unexpected crunch or waft of something indiscernible. Potato with mackerel, smoked salmon with a dill buckwheat crêpe, smoked haddock pie and sea bass were all too alike in taste and texture. Pears, seemingly poached in water, were devoid of taste. A blended white wine was drinkable, a Moscato d’Asti wasn’t. What I did get was a fascinat-


ing experience. I was amazed at how well I could eat and drink. Occasionally I got an unexpect- edly large mouthful but I never spilled or dribbled. Closing my eyes was easier than straining to see nothing. Separating conversation from residual noise was difficult. Most unexpected were our dinner companions Jen and Rob. I hadn’t judged or made assumptions based on their looks and they were delightful. Out in the light, they were still


delightful. And polite enough not to mention that I in fact look exactly like George Clooney!


The American 41


Left: Edouard De Broglie Right: being led to table


Dans Le Noir ‘Surprise’ cocktail


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