We decided to celebrate our 100th days of marriage at NOX Restaurant, which is Singapore’s version of dining in darkness. On top of it potentially being an interesting experience, we also wanted to do our little bit to help with the visually impaired in Singapore.
As NOX website describes, we are constantly having sensory stimulation. Especially in our modern fast paced environment, our senses are nearly overwhelmed, always having new news to look at, new information to feed into our brains, new people to talk to. So the concept of NOX – Dine in the Dark, is to compel us to be more conscious of our remaining senses since we cannot see, thus heightening our ability to smell, feel and taste! As NOX describes, the experience is to “temporarily surrender one of your dominant senses, sight, in exchange for enhancing the other four, allowing you to completely re-evaluate your perception of the world around you”.
When you first enter the restaurant on the first floor, the host will brief on all the necessary logistics – going to the washroom, packing and locking up all accessories that will emit light and such. After that, they serve Amuse-Bouche (Breaded Oysters with Mustard) which was really nice. You can also order cocktails to enjoy while waiting for the table, and you are allowed to bring the cocktail upstairs later on, to continue during the meal. N had the Bacciferous, which is a forest of citrus fruits, berries and mint. I had the Skinny Dip, which is a MUST HAVE if you like peanut butter; Skinny Dip is a dessert cocktail comprising Peanut Butter (doh), Frangelico, Butterscotch, Ice Cream, Milk and Salt. I loved how this drink is so rich and sweet, and yet the salt makes it softly savoury as well.
Once the server (who is visually impaired) is ready, you will be asked to hold his/her shoulder to slowly ascent the stairs to the second floor. Then, you will walk pass a curtain on Level 2, and beyond that curtain, it is complete pitch darkness; you won’t even be able to see your own hand in front of your face! It can also be a long walk to your table with lots of turning right and left.
Once seated, they will serve 3 course meal ($78/pax) – Appetizers, Mains and Desserts. Each course will have 4 smaller dishes, that will be served on a wooden tray, in a 3-6-9-12 clock position. One is supposed to start from 6 o’clock dish and work clockwise. We checked and it is not because of the sequence of flavours, but just having a sequence will ensure you and the people you are dining with can be sure that you are on the same dish! And I cannot blog about the food, otherwise it will be a spoiler for you, but all I can say is the food is VERY well cooked, and you will be STUFFED after the meal, having eaten with 12 smaller dishes.
After the meal, do allow some time for your eyes to adjust back to the lights on Level 1. Once you settle down, they will give you a questionnaire quiz, before presenting the dishes to you on an iPad, so you can check if you guessed correctly. Very fun! Between the 2 of us, we pretty much guessed all the dishes accurately, but there are some subtle ingredients in the dishes that we didn’t catch the nuances of.
I really enjoyed the NOX experience because it reminds me of how I take my sight for granted, and also how many visually impaired people there are out there without the luxury of sight. The server was telling us that if we ever want to help someone who is visually impaired get to a location, we must ensure we walk with them the whole way, otherwise if we bring them on a new route and we suddenly need to leave, they will be stranded. Even being away to navigate is something I take for granted! I also appreciate the role reversal of where the blind become our eyes in the dark. Must try for all! They also change their menu every month, so you can also try more than once =)
NOX – Dine in the Dark
Address: 269 Beach Road Singapore 199546
Tel: +65 6298 0708
Make your reservation now at: http://www.noxdineinthedark.com/reservations/