Imagine walking into a restaurant so dark, you can't see your waiter, fellow diners, or even the food in front of you. At Montreal restaurant, O.Noir, your visual senses are taken from you the moment you step inside. All of the restaurant's waiters are legally blind and upon entry, they welcome you to their lives in the dark. Removing the visual senses heightens a diner's sense of taste; when you don't know what you're putting in your mouth, it can give even the most ordinary dishes an intriguing edge.
The restaurants are also a unique way to employ the blind, a demographic that faces a 70 per cent unemployment rate.
The concept for dining in the dark began in Zurich where a blind Swiss preacher began hosting dinner parties in which he blind-folded his guests, giving them a feel for his world. He opened the restaurant Blindekuh (German for "blind cow") where diners ate in a pitch-black setting and were served by a visually impaired staff.
"The concept turned into a mini-phenomenon earlier this decade and today there are similar restaurants in Paris, London and Cologne that customers need not dress up for," Up! Magazine explains. "The incarnations in Beijing and Melbourne are a bit of a cheat: the dining rooms are dark, but the 20/20 staff wear night-vision goggles."
Dining in the dark is an experienced of heightened senses... "The dark is useful for other things, of course," the naughty minds at Up! note. "Near the end of the meal, we could no longer hear the voice of the people in front of us. 'Either that couple has left,' I said to my date, 'or they're getting busy.' An embarrassed female laugh broke through the black in front of us. Just because it's dark, doesn't mean you won't get caught."
Check out the video of Opaque Dining in the Dark in West Hollywood.
Trend Hunter has featured blind folded dining before where guests wear a "mild fold." The concept is the same; removing one sense, heightens another.