When it comes to dining experiences, Melbournians are some of the most adventurous in the world. We are willing to try almost anything, snails, frogs, the world’s hottest chillis, you name it. But would you eat your dinner in the dark? When I say dark, I don’t mean dim lighting, I mean pitch black, no phone, absolutely no light. Think you’re up for the challenge? Then you need to book yourself in for a sitting at the famed Dans Le Noir which has taken residency in the iconic Rydges on Swanston.

Dans Le Noir has taken residency all around the world, including in Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, St Petersburg, Auckland and Casablanca, where over 1.5 million diners have experienced this unique phenomenon.

Your meal experience is hosted by vision impaired guides who take you through the dining in the dark experience. Prior to entering the dining space, you have to hand in your phone. You will then be instructed to form an orderly line and put your hand on the shoulder in front of you. You will then be taken into the room by your guide, and let me tell you, it’s certainly a memorable experience.

As soon as your sight is taken away it can be initially unsettling. I must admit, when I first got lead in, I was a bit nervous. It took me a while to settle, but after a while, you get used to not being able to see anything! It was also actually great not to have my phone on me so I could really take in the experience.

Not only can’t you see who you are dining with and where you are dining, but you also can’t tell what you are eating. This gives rise to some unexpected challenges, for example, you can’t actually tell what is on your plate or even if your cutlery is picking anything up. I did find I had to eat with my hands for some courses, but this really added to the experience! The food was amazing and in fact, not being able to see what you are eating, makes you really concentrate on the flavours more! We actually had a lot of fun guessing what we were eating, and don’t worry, they don’t leave you in the dark (pardon the pun), you have a chance to guess each course after the meal and they tell you exactly what you ate. Surprisingly, it was a lot harder than expected to guess each dish!

With the choice of 3 or 5 Courses, the menu is carefully curated by the Head Chef Christian Oblak daily. Given the fact you can’t see what you are eating, Christian has create a menu that enlives your other senses with unique flavours and texture combinations. The blind tasting caters for vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians alike, including allergies and food restrictions and can be paired with matching beer or wine.

“It is a unique experience to have a different approach of creating a menu that is particularly crafted to tap the other senses of our guests”, explains Christian. “We tend to rely on our sight most of the time so it is a challenge for my brigade and myself to create something that would arouse the curiosity of our patrons by relying on their other senses. It is all about being out of our comfort zone for both my brigade and our diners. I also believe that it is a unique opportunity to be a part of a global community of chefs within the worldwide Dans le Noir restaurants which fills me and my brigade with a great pride to by apart of this Melbourne Dining Experience.”

Dans Le Noir at Rydges on Swanston can also accommodate group bookings and private events for those searching for a unique team building or dining experience. With a seating capacity of 84 guests, Dans Le Noir offers the perfect Melbourne unique venue experience.

This unique experience not only challenges the way you dine, but certainly gives you something to talk about with your friends and family!

To take part in the truly sensory, social and human Melbourne dining experience click here or call 03 9347 7811 for more information.

Thursday – Saturday

6:00pm – Late

03 9347 7811

701 Swanston St, Carlton VIC 3053

About The Author

Lisa Teh

Lisa Teh is the Editor-in-chief of Couturing.com, one of Australia's top fashion, beauty and lifestyle resources. She has worked on campaigns with brands including David Jones, Myer, Mecca Cosmetica, Simone Perele, Lenovo and L'Oreal. She recently appeared in Couturing's exclusive Australian Fashion Week reality web series, The Frow, alongside top industry names including Toni Maticevski and Maybelline Creative Director Nigel Stanislaus.

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