10 November 2013

NOX Dine in the Dark

When I first heard that Nox Dine in the Dark was launched in Singapore, I wanted to try it immediately but the cost of $78 per pax threw me off the chair. Recently, I had the luck to save some buck to dine at Nox after I won an Openrice contest for two! My lucky friend and I were joined by an Openrice editor, Yiwen, for dinner. Yiwen has a really cool blog here and she blogs on food too.

In a gist, the concept is dine in the dark. The menu is unknown to us. The server asked if we had any dietary restrictions or allergies. After the dinner has ended, we were brought back to a lit room where we make a guess on what we have eaten. The menu was then revealed to us. That’s when bragging rights belong to the most acute taste buds #ChallengeAccepted

Before our dinner and while waiting for our guide, we were served the Amuse-Bouche - salmon cod fish with roe (below). This is the only food picture I have as the rest of my dinner was held in the dark. 

For the Instagram addicts, I am sorry but you have to try to curb your Instagram withdrawal symptoms for this dinner. 

Patrons are welcomed to enjoy a drink at the bar before dinner too. You can also order your drinks for dinner too.

We had to keep bags and handphones in the lockers below.

It was a while before we were informed that our guide Halimi is ready. I was absolutely thrilled! The feeling was just like the moment before I boarded on an aeroplane for the first time. I knew it was going to be an adventure and finally the moment has arrived. 

This is the door that will lead us into the unknown.

After climbing up a flight of stairs which was surprisingly quite an easy feat despite that we can't see, we reached the dining room on the second floor. We reached our table in a few steps and Halimi guided us to our chairs. 

At this moment, it looked like this:

Welcome to the dark side.
A total pitch-black. The darkest of the black. We thought we would slowly be accustomed and regained some sight but no, we did not. There was some small red dim lights near the top corner but they were just the infra-red cameras which footage would be retrieved only during "incidents". Hence, please ensure no naughty business.

We ordered a glass bottle of still water. The challenge was to make sure the table (and the floor) was not wet after the dinner. Nevertheless it was less stressful when we sensed that the cups were made of plastic instead of glass. 

Dinner was a 3 course prix fixe menu - Appetizer, Main Course, Dessert. Each course had 4 smaller different bowls of food, which were placed on a tray. 

It's bizarre how our other senses (hear, taste, touch, smell) were heightened when we can't see.  I thought my taste buds were more sensitive in the dark as everything I ate tasted very strong. For example, saltier, sweeter, more sour. I could also smell my food before it came, especially the truffles.

And it’s a rare occasion where you aren’t distracted by Whatsapp or busy catching up on Candy Crush. I can’t remember when the last time I gave full attention to my dining companions. And girls, this is also probably the only restaurant which your BFs can't look at other girls.

We weren't sure how Halimi was going to know when we had finished eating. I joked, "Maybe let's just raise our hands." OK I know that's lame and I was quite sure my friend rolled her eyes even though I can't see that. We waited quite some time after our last desserts before Halimi returned.

In the same pattern, we took the stairs down to return to the bar area. Going down was more challenging than coming up. Our eyes had a bit of adjustment to the light. We then filled up a questionnaire on what we think was the food we ate. When the server revealed the menu and photos of the food that we ate, we were really caught by surprise by some of the ingredients. We couldn't take pictures of the menu/photos as the restaurant only changes the menu every four weeks and it won't be fun for the rest if we revealed.

The bar area where we were given the survey
Be prepared to pay top dollar (S$78++ without drinks), but be rest assured that you will be served high quality food. The ingredients are worthy of the price you will be paying. There is so much emphasis on food presentation nowadays and sometimes I am guilty of letting it confuse the taste buds. This is a chance where you can focus on just the taste. I must highlight that the food served was enjoyable and I loved all of them, except for one of the main courses which was due to a personal preference.

Not to mention that the service you will get is top-notch. Our guide Halimi is not just a waiter, but an inspiring character. He was formerly a Singapore Airlines crew member but had to undergo an operation to remove his brain tumour. Although he became visually-impaired after the operation, he was never despaired and continued to live life to the fullest and continue to do what he loves - customer service. To many, he might be physically handicapped but actually I think he is no less handicapped in terms of his personality.

Overall, if I could only describe my experience in five words, that would be: "eye-opening", once-in-a-lifetime, amazing, unique, touched. In fact, I am thinking of going back there again after the menu changes.

Some tips :
1) Use the toilet before the adventure as it would be difficult if you need to use the toilet in the middle of the dinner. Don't worry, the toilets are lit.
2) Wear clothes with pockets so that you can keep the locker key. That’s because we also had to keep our bags, mobile phones, cameras, and anything that can gives off light in the lockers.
3) Wear dark coloured clothes to prevent food stains.. you'll never know!
4) Wear flats/low heels as you would need to climb the stairs to the dining area on 2nd floor.

Address: 269 Beach Road, Singapore 199546
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 6PM to late

Make your reservation now at: http://www.noxdineinthedark.com/reservations/

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