Fresh Basil Dining in the Dark
It’s a bold step to encourage people to put their phones away – in a locked box, no less – in a world where many restaurants and cafes can make their imprint thanks to social media. It’s taken to a whole other level when you urge them to eat in complete darkness. There are no lights. There will be no knives, not even a glance. Only four restricted sensations and three courses are available.
It’s tempting to dismiss Fresh Basil’s Dining in the Dark event as gimmicky. Yet, it’s the definition of a dining experience – and it kept us chatting (and discussing) long after we’d typically finished snapping photos of another Instagrammable plate.
Each night, only 20 seats are available for the 60- to 90-minute session, and no matter which you attend, you’ll feel a sense of solidarity with your fellow diners for attempting—likely failing to identify exactly what you ate in those three meals.
Food allergies and intolerances are catered for in the intriguing dishes, so be sure to pre-book and give details for the most relevant experience because you don’t want to miss out.
Dinners were dressed in various styles during our visit, from casual to elegant, but style doesn’t matter in the dark, and you’re given an apron to assist in containing any mess or spilling.
Going into what appears to be eternal darkness can be frightening at first, but the staff calms you down with canapés and welcome drinks at a table that looks exactly like the one in the dark. And the accommodating and reassuring hosts make it plain that they will be there to help you return to the light. The experience is radically altered when you lose your sense of sight, and it’s one memorable mouthful after another. Another flavorful twist appears when you think you’ve figured out everything there is to know about a dish.
Choose your dinner companions carefully, because you’ll either wind up working together to find out what’s in front of you or squabbling about whether it’s beef, chicken, no beef, lamb… or fish? That’s before you even begin to listen to what the other tables have to say. Are you curious as to what the crunchy substance was? What was in that starter, exactly? Everything is disclosed at the end, including where you ate (and made a mess).