Dine in the Dark Manila
4/F The A. Venue Suites, Salamanca St. cor. Gen. Luna St., Makati, Metro Manila
- 4 Reviews
- 37 Recommend
- 4 Reviewers
More Business Info
- Parking Lot
- Waiter Service:
- Good for Groups:
Most Recent Reviews
My girlfriend went home to Manila for a brief vacation and she invited me to dine with her family here. Glad I was able to experience this event.
First of all, i want to explain my photo. That's what you see once they bring you inside. They won't allow you to bring anything inside that can emit any kind of light. They have a check-in counter for your things. Although they don't strictly enforce the rule, it would be better if you could experience total darkness. So submit it in even your glow in the dark watches!
The management would first orient you on where the utensils are placed before going in. That helped a little for me. I still fumbled around the table for my things. And for you to experience the ordeals of darkness even more, they'd make you pour your own water. There will be a pitcher of water at the middle of your table, then just wish for the best that you don't pour anything on yourself. You also have to be careful with overflowing your glass. (It happened to me. It wasn't much but still). My girlfriend already pre-ordered our reservation with the Chef's Surprise, it was a surprise indeed.
When the appetizers came, i really wanted to know what i was eating. I felt a little unease not knowing what will enter my mouth. So instead of using my utensils, i tried to slightly feel it with my hands. Next thing i know my fingers are covered with something wet. It was such a funny experience.
The main dish was served next. Thank God it wasn't on a hot plate, i'm 100% sure i'd burn myself if it was. It was good considering they had to serve it lukewarm. And by this time I was getting accustomed to using my utensils but there's this one instance where I was slicing up a piece and i thought it was a big piece until I ate it. It was a size of a pin. Hahaha.
The dessert was served last. For me, the dessert was small in portion. A little addition would've been perfect. I still can't deny that the dessert tasted good.
Dine in the Dark for me wasn't a focus of how good the food was, but how we adapt and experience dining in total darkness. It was such a fun experience. For someone who was afraid of darkness, i didn't feel fear at all. It also helped that my girlfriend's family was making me laugh the whole time. I kept being playful inside since no one would see me. I kept on reaching out my hand to anything i could reach. I also kept mouthing “I love you” to my girlfriend with matching hand gestures like shooting hearts because no one would see how sappy or cheezy i can be!
- No. of Comments: 3
- No. of Likes: 5 Likes
Yey! I got to try Dine in the Dark last October 16th and it was amazing! The whole experience was worth sharing, from the pre-event to the actual dinner.
The moment I saw Ruth S share about this on Facebook long before its launch, I've practically fixated on trying it already. The next thing I knew, I was booking for my flight in Manila for the weekend of their opening, starting the 14th of October. After I got my plane ticket from Cebu, that's the only time they opened for table reservations, and immediately they posted "we are fully booked for the first two weekends". This was such a let down, especially as I really wanted to try it, so though it was a shot in the dark, I called the number on Booky Manila to try my luck. I told Ms Kaye, the lady who answered on the mobile number given, the whole story of me living in Cebu for work and me purposely scheduling my short vacation to their inauguration weekend just so I can do it, and she was blown away. So even though they were full already, she said they'll add a table for us. It was truly the sweetest thing!
So that fateful dinner finally came and I was so excited! Before anything, they make you sign a waiver to let the management know that it's ok with you if you end up spilling stuff on your clothes. It was funny because you have to put your age on the form. Up until I got to fill out the part with my family, all of the diners were around the age of 20 to 30. It was only my parents that were at the 60's bracket. it was so cute, my mom had to express loudly, "pambata lang ata to, Gi!" But what the hey, I wanted to experience this with none other than my folks!
We were then called in batches of 8 persons to go upstairs for the orientation before going into the dark room. We were seated on the couch and then a blind lady conducted the short talk. She reiterated that it might get a little messy, but it's gonna be fun. She also oriented us on the positions of the utensils, the glasses and where the plate will be. She also mentioned that since your sense of sight is taken, you will probably make up for it in any other sense you have left, which meant you might talk louder than usual, smell better, feel more and yes, taste a lot more. She also told us to try to guess the food and remember it until the end of the meal. At this point, my mom got all emotional because she remembered some relatives who went blind and how difficult it got for them. It gave a whole new meaning to why we were doing this, especially that it's for a good cause. Part of the ticket charge goes to Resources for the Blind, Inc. The lady also informed us that all of the waiters that shall serve us are also visually impaired. I'm just glad that somehow we get to help them!
We were each asked to leave our things to their reception desk and they will keep them throughout the duration of the meal. They had to collect everything that emitted light, so that meant our phones and such. Plus, it's not really recommended to carry anything else since you won't be able to see anything inside anyway, plus the meal has been paid for in advanced. No worries because they have ample space for safe keeping. 🏼
We were introduced to our waiter, Carlos. I couldn't forget his name because he reminded me of someone who used to be close to our family. He was very polite, so kudos to him! He's been trained well. He then lead us to the dark room. Immediately everything went black. I got so nervous of hitting things, and worse bumping into other people. But Carlos made sure that we wouldn't. He managed to take us to our table and we just waited until the rest of the table got filled. The lady was right, we got all unusually noisy during the wait. It was so weird, and I didn't really know why I was talking so loudly, but it did.
Eventually, we started the meal. The whole dining experience was surreal. It was hard to find the food on the plate, IMHO. Hahaha, siyempre di ko makita e! I kept on swinging my spoon from left to right on my plate just trying to catch anything I can eat. There was a time I tried touching it and i ended up dipping my finger into some kind of sauce. It was so funny! I could smell the fragrant aroma of the food twice as much as I ever did. The taste of the meal was really great! Everything was so flavorful, and I probably would have loved seeing it, but I could honestly say you can imagine the dish as you devour it.
I had so much fun too, mainly because apparently my parents are funnier in the dark. Their jokes are twice as funny and their crazy banters are wittier. And yes, they spoke so loudly, a lot more than what I'm used to. I really enjoyed my time with them!
After the meal, we were accompanied by Carlos going out, and we were told to give it a minute or two so our eyes can adjust to the light. I think it took me more than two minutes to do this. They then gave us forms to write down what we thought we ate. After collecting this, the man from the reception gave us back our belongings and he told us that the complete menu is downstairs to check if we got our guesses right. I wished they showed the actual dishes but it was just the set menu card that was shown. I was amazed though that I got most of it right! I guess I have a more accurate palate than I expected!
It was definitely a unique experience! I highly recommend this to all other foodies out there! You better do it in the dark now because this is just for a limited time only!
- No. of Comments: 8
- No. of Likes: 14 Likes
What's the most unique dining concept that you've tried? A dining hall inside a giant aquarium? A cat or dog cafe? Food served in miniature toilet bowls? Floating restaurant, perhaps? Garden Cafe, maybe? What about dining without seeing anything? Yes! You read it right! Dining in complete darkness where you will not be able to take pictures of your food, no IG worthy restaurant interiors, no flat lays, no nothing! Complete darkness without knowing what you'll have. Strange? Cool? Yes, please? No, thank you?
Got the chance to partake in one very cool and unique dining experience in Manila during their media launch last week - DINE IN THE DARK MANILA. I got an invite from looloo and I was so giddy to go! Noche - Dine in the Dark x looloo - bring it on!
Noche - Dine in the Dark Manila is the first and only restaurant in Manila that lets customers dine in complete darkness. Partnering with Resources for the Blind, their goal of reducing the unemployment rate of differently abled individuals, especially the visually impaired ones was realized by having all of their servers come from this organization.
The experience started with a call time of 7PM at A Venue Suites. We were ushered to a restaurant at the 4/F for briefing and waiting. There they explained what will happen, asked for our preferred menu, and got us acquainted with Resources for the Blind. They even gave us a sheet with braille alphabet and another sheet with a message for us to uncover! Pretty cool if you ask me. We chose our preferred menu - we went a little adventurous so we opted for the Chef's Surprise - a little chit chat then off we went!
Ascended a floor higher, we needed to leave ALL of our belongings. Since there will be no blind folds and the place will be pitch black in darkness, we were not allowed to bring anything that might emit even the slightest hint of light. Then, someone briefed us about the table setting and gave some reminders for a better dining experience. I was just so excited but at the same time nervous because I haven't experienced anything like it before. Take out the sense of sight and all your other senses will go over drive! That thought made me giddy and made me wonder how dining in such a set-up will be like!
Before we went in, we were introduced to our server - Carlos. Carlos was the one assigned to take us to our table, serve our food, refill our glasses with water and help us with any issues at all. And so we were all set! We held on to Carlos, got through layers after layers of thick curtains, followed the instructions of Carlos and finally got seated! Whiw! We relaxed and tried to adjust to the darkness and it was amazing how dark it was - totally dark! I barely saw the silhouette of my friend.
We started our 3 course meal with an appetizer, followed by the main dish, mocktail then dessert. Since I'm not able to see anything, I used my sense of smell and touch to try to figure out the dishes. I used my hands for the texture followed by a good sniff to get more clue. It was fun!
We went all crazy trying to figure out what we were about to eat but since I was the adventurous type, or maybe just really PG, I didn't hesitate to try each and every piece of food on my plate. "Something is soft on top of a bread? Oh wait and there's this hard-crunchy stuff at the side! It's a sandwich! Oh wait it's not! It's too mushy! But something smells so citrusy or is that mushroom in there?"
I'm proud to say that I think I finished everything that was on my plate for each course. Since I can't see and I merely tried to guess the serving portions by holding whatever I can, trying to survey the contents of my plate, I think I got lost and munched and munched until there was nothing left! It's amazing how surprised we were when we wanted more but there was nothing left and we were guessing if we ate too much LOL
"Pork? Chicken? Oh the portions are so tender! But I'm sure it's pork or maybe beef? Errr no it's pork I'm sure! And my gosh the portions are huge! This is good stuff, good tender, really tender meat! And oh my gosh I finished everything!"
Dessert was easy. Since I love sweets, It was easy to guess what was in there - three small potions, all sweet and good!
When we were satisfied and done eating, we relaxed a bit and called our server - Carlos. He ushered us out of the dark room and I was so relieved to finally see some light! We even lost track of the time! We were inside for a good 1.5 to 2 hrs! As soon as we got out, a table filled with the food served greeted us. It was fun to discover that we were right in guessing some of the food BUT OMG! I can't believe I guessed some incorrectly when I was so sure! It's mind blowing how unpredictable your sense of taste can go when you don't get to see the food that you're eating. It's misleading but it was totally fun!
So it's true, in this day and age of digital exposure, we tend to rely on our vision to judge, decide and enjoy. DINE IN THE DARK MANILA will bring you back to the basics - enjoying a nice conversation with your dinner date with no digital interruptions, appreciating your food without bias and just get into a world that's totally different from your daily grind. It was relaxing and I honestly enjoyed it. I can't say that the food was show stopper but it was good nonetheless. I don't mind getting the 5 course meal next time. The experience was totally worth it plus that fact that you're giving these folks from Resources for the Blind do some worthwhile stuff for themselves, it's worth every penny.
P.S. They have a Mystery Menu that even has braille alphabets! Before going to the room, you will be asked for your preference - Meat, Fish, Vegetarian or Chef's Surprise. Then choose your course - 2,3 or 5! They opened to the public on Friday (Oct. 14) and will operate every Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays on a strictly reservation basis only with two dinner services each day - 6PM and 8PM.
>2 course (Main & Dessert) option for an opening promo price of PHP699 instead of PHP999.00
>3 course (most recommended- see above) option is in an opening promo price of PHP999.00 instead of PHP1,499.00
> 5 course option (For the grand adventurer)for a promo price of PHP1,499 instead of PHP1,999
- No. of Comments: 2
- No. of Likes: 15 Likes
It is absolutely fascinating how social media changed our dining habits. Back when phones are bigger than the remote control, we start the meal with a prayer. These days, we start with a flatlay. Just 5 years ago, we choose our meals based on taste; now, we choose base on appearance. We have been so concerned with how dishes look and if it'll generate a lot of likes or regrams. We take so many shots that we get used to cold food and lukewarm drinks. And in the age of digitalization, most of us simply have lost the ability to enjoy food the right way. And this is one of the issues Dine in the Dark aims to address.
Hello, Dine in the Dark!
I was so thrilled when Peanut D messaged one weekend informing Clarissa P and I that we will be the |ooloo representatives for Noche Dine in the Dark's VIP Preview. I have been eying to try it out with R ever since I saw its teaser. Though I've tried dining in the dark before, I know that it'll be a totally different experience when you're with different company.
Days before the preview, C and I had to choose among fish, meat, vegetarian and chef's surprise for our 3-course meal. We both chose chef's surprise because it sounds exciting!
And finally, it was 10.05.16!
Noche is located at the 4th floor of A.Venue Suites Hotel and before entering the dark realm, one had to proceed to the holding area where diners will be briefed.
While waiting for everyone, several braille cards were given and we tried to learn how to read using it. I actually enjoyed memorizing each letter and I plan to master it soon. It was also a very engaging way to introduce us to the world of the visually impaired.
We were also given welcome drinks as we sign the registration sheet (to reconfirm your selected menu and to note if one has any allergies) and waiver form.
Soon, we were divided into 3 groups and went up a flight, one group at a time.
As we reached 4U (upper 4th floor), we were briefed on the table setting and some dos and don'ts by one of the visually impaired staff. Actually, everyone who will waiting our tables are visually impaired but have background in HRM.
Note that electronic devices such as mobile phones, anything that emits light or glows and bags are prohibited inside the dining area. Noche provides a spacious storage area for everyone's belongings. If you are worried that your bag will be mixed up with someone else's, fret not as each bag are properly numbered and you will be given a number card which you need to show afterwards to claim your belongings.
After 5 minutes or so, we finally entered the dark room which stripped us of our ability to see. We moved around the dining area inch by inch, worried that we might trip or hit something (or someone). But thanks to our server Carlos, we managed to get to our table without any bump or scratch.
Kaye of Noche warned us that we might speak a bit louder than normal to compensate not being able to see anything and she was right. I spoke a bit louder than usual during the first 30 seconds. My eyes also tried to look for anything to see but failed. (That was till C noticed this tiny speck of light passing through the thick curtain beside our table.)
It took quite some time before our first dish was served. We really could not tell how long it took as we seemed to have lost the ability to know time as well inside the dark room. We just felt that it was long because we were becoming hangry.
Several conversation topics later, our appetizer was finally served.
We first used our hands to feel the food. C thought it was a huge sandwich and took a big bite. And it wasn’t a sandwich.
I loved it though as it had a lot of interesting textures and flavors. It was also fun guessing what each ingredient was and trying to figure out the best way to eat it.
The mains took longer than our appetizer that we started to feel sleepy. But when it was served, we were once again giddy and excited to play the guessing game.
Our main dish was a tad salty and forced me to do the thing I dreaded the most… pour water. Let’s just say that I made a splash.
After 20 or 30 minutes, desserts were served and I found it… prickly. Tasha of Noche mentioned that they really exert effort to add textures to the dishes they serve so make sure that you feel your food first before putting your face close to the plate to avoid having your eyes poked by your meal.
Going back to the dessert, it was a lovely harmony of different textures and flavors. All sweet but different in taste. We managed to guess them all right. Well, with all the sweets we eat, we should.
We called for Carlos as soon as we were done and he guided us out of the dining area.
It took a couple of seconds before our eyes adjusted to light again and the first thing I saw was the long table with all the dishes served.
Everyone was busy taking photos of the dishes served but we couldn’t post any as to avoid ruining the experience for the rest who want to try dining in the dark too. They will be changing their menu on a monthly basis though so I guess I could post the food I ate after a month. So for now, I could only post extreme close up photos of the dishes we ate.
Overall, food was average and service needs a bit of work but it was a fun experience and I would love to go back for more!
Note: For now, Noche Dine in the Dark is open every Friday to Sunday for 6pm and 8pm dinner service. You may choose from two course meal (PHP699), three course meal(PHP999) or five course meal (PHP1,499). These introductory prices are valid until October 31 and will be adjusted to PHP999, PHP1,499 and PHP1,999 respectively starting November.
- No. of Comments: 18
- No. of Likes: 42 Likes