There has been an ongoing fad... that is to take a photo of your food, before you eat. As they say, "shoot before you eat". I will admit, I also practice this a lot. Especially when you see your food on the table, meticulously prepared and plated. A work of art! And when you have that first taste, when sight and taste collide.... then I consider myself lucky for experiencing it.
But what if..... you don't get to see what you are about to eat. When suddenly, you can't use your phone or camera to take a picture. Actually, you can't even use your camera and phone for the entire duration of your dining experience. When you are left with two things to do: dine in complete darkness, and have awesome real-life (not virtual hahaha) chat with your fellow diners.
Welcome to my NOCHE: DINE IN THE DARK experience.
But first.... if you want to know more about Noche's background read HERE
MRS.WISE AND MR.WISE EXPERIENCE:
Yes! This is the first time me and my hubby will dine for the first time, just the two of us, without our teens. And what an experience, because we didn't see each other's faces as we feast on our 3-course meal :)
We were in A-Venue Hotel Suites before 7pm. We went up straight to level 5, and found out we were early.
A few minutes later, we were asked to go down to Granvia Cafe, where briefing will occur.
|THE SECRET MENU, IN BRAILLE|
|MOI AND MS. TASHA REYES, ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF NOCHE|
|MS. KATRINA LACAP, ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF NOCHE|
We were then grouped into 6, as they ushered us in, one by one upstairs for the start of our Dine in the Dark Experience. We met Rey, our server for the evening.
|THE SERVERS WHO UNDERWENT RIGID TRAINING AT GRANDIA CAFE|
|MS. MAY, EXPLAINING "THE CLOCK SYSTEM"|
Holding Rey by the elbow, and yes.... I was really holding his arm tightly, and hubby was holding on to the other arm, we entered a black curtain. The feeling: it was like entering the black hole hahaha! I paused for a while, not moving, because I was trying to have my eyes adjust to the darkness. Rey guided us, as we tried to find our chairs. It felt like traversing in a maze.
When we were finally settled down, we observed the place. There's just some tinge of light coming from the ceiling I felt my other senses were working double time. Like my sense of hearing. I thought I developed "bionic ears", because I can hear the conversations from other tables. I also knew that food was just about to be served, because my sense of smell can detect it.
After a good 10 minutes or so..... our server announced the arrival of our SALAD. My instant reaction --- I brought the plate close to my nose and smelled it. I sensed thousand island dressing, and something grilled. I used my fingers and poked on it. I touched tomatoes, lettuce and I was sure... grilled chicken. I tried using my fork and knife, but I don't know where to start cutting. I'm a bit of an OC when eating salad. I want an even amount of veggies and meat on my fork.... and I knew I can't do that on this particular night. So I threw whatever OC tendencies I have into the thin dark air, and resolved that I will just use my hands to eat. What the heck, my co-diners will not even see me doing it! So there, I started eating my salad with my bare hands. It was a quirky experience, but I have to admit, the salad was delicious. The veggies were crisp and fresh. And the grilled chicken -- perfect!
What is suprising, I finished the salad in.... 5 minutes. I told my husband, "I'm done" and he goes "whhaaat? That fast?" I didn't know that dining in complete darkness will make me eat fast. Weird!!!
When our salad plates were cleared, we waited for a long time, before the MAIN course was served. As in LONG. We almost ran out of things to talk about, and still no food. Hmm.... or maybe, it was the temporary loss of sight that made the waiting quite unbearable. And the absence of my phone too :)
When the main course arrived, again, I just had to smell it. And I got confused. There were just so many flavors exploding. Something grilled, something creamy and buttery, something fried. So what I did, I ate them one by one. I started with the veggies... fresh crunchy and buttery. Then the chicken, soft and tender to the bite, with a hint of creamy sauce. Then I feasted on these circular fried potatoes. Just like "mojos". Lastly, the pork. Sorry, but I didn't recognize the sauce.
Again, I ate everything in a snap. I finished everything, ahead of my husband. I think, not seeing my food, or how big is the serving, made me enjoy my food more. Made me appreciate its flavors.
Before dessert, I had the guts to open a happy conversation with the couple across us. Bloggers Yogo and Cream (Mhean and Lloyd). We were enjoying the talk when the sweet finale of our dining experience came -- dessert! I was so sure, there were 3 of them. One, was leche flan. The other two were cheesecake and something chocolate. The 3 desserts were the perfect ending for a very satisfying dinner. Not too sweet, absolutely wonderful.
And before we knew it... it was the end of our Noche, Dine in the Dark experience. We were escorted back outside. And we saw the display of the food served to us -- meat, vegetarian and che's surprise. Of course I won't post all the pictures here -- because I don't want to spoil the surprise for you dear readers.... and to all who are planning to experience Noche.
I was totally blown out by the gorgeous presentation of the food. I asked the chef if the food served to us look exactly like that on the long table. He said "yes".
|BEAUTIFULLY PLATED GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD|
THINGS TO IMPROVE ON:
1. Maybe to shorten the waiting time in between courses. If you are not the extrovert type, I think you will have a hard time starting a conversation with total strangers, in the dark.
2. Going to dessert, I remembered to ask for water. I finished the iced tea served halfway to the main course, but I finished the experience and the water never came :(
3. I suggest to have a distinct music to signal end of the dining experience. I was still munching on my dessert when someone told me, they need to usher me out of the dark dining area. I think, knowing specifically when dinner will be over, will put the diners at ease. Especially when Noche becomes operational in October, there will be two dining schedules, and everything needs to be on time.
WILL I RECOMMEND IT:
A definite YES! It is a one of a kind experience. Its all about sensuality of the texture and palate. The experience of venturing into the unknown makes your senses go berserk. You give up your sense of sight, you heighten the other senses. Would love to have my teens try this. 2-hour without their gadgets, I wonder how will they survive :)
YES, everything they served were delicious. And well thought of. The combination of flavors makes you crave for more. And it is a heavy 3-course meal.
And YES, trusting the visually impaired staff and servers is a unique experience. Being guided by someone who is partially or totally blind makes you value your sense of sight more.
For those of you who want to experience NOCHE: DINING IN THE DARK MANILA -- here are the detail: