We’ve been invited to a sneak preview of Kuwait’s newest restaurant, The Dark Room. You might have already heard about it or tried it from your travels abroad in London or NYC, but in case you didn’t, The Dark Room is a restaurant where you dine in total darkness with absolutely nothing to see which in turn should enhance your other senses including your taste one and allow you to experience your food in another level all together.
The restaurant is located in the basement of Burj Jassim tower in Kuwait City. When you arrive, you go down two flights of dimly lit stairs to a small dimly lit but tastefully decorated reception area where the hostess checks you reservation.
On the left side of the reception area is a locker room. You are supposed to leave all your belonging, including your phone, in a deposit box and take only the locker key with you inside the dining room. I had to say letting go of my iPhone was an experience in its own. I felt lost.
Then you are through a long corridor to a small waiting area where you wait for your waiters to arrive and lead you inside the dining room. Both the corridor and the waiting area are even more dimly lit than the reception room. The idea is that your eyes can gradually adjust to the darkness before it completely becomes all black.
While you wait you are served small glasses of lemon and mint juice with some nuts to munch on. We were also handed long plastic aprons to wear before going inside.
Then our guide/host for the night Hamad Al-Ali, aided with his night goggles, came and led us inside the dark dining room. My husband had his hand on Hamad’s shoulder, I held my husband’s hand, and Pink Girl held my hand and we took off in a slow train like manner, inching step by step inside total darkness until we were told to feel for the chairs and sit on them.
We sat absorbed by darkness, we couldn’t find each other at first. Then we settled down and got used to the surrounding I felt a sudden urge to fall asleep but it passed away in about five minutes or so.
I began looking for my iPhone. I panicked for a moment when I couldn’t find it but then remembered its locked away. I think I have an unhealthy obsession with the thing. Then we realised we had dining neighbours sitting next on either side of us. The table was stark empty, and when the waiters aided by their night goggles arrived to serve us they would first put the utensils in your hands then tell you what you are being served. How you eat it, how you figure out where the spoon or fork cuts or whether or not you are going to poke your cheek with an empty fork -happened twice-, are all things you have to figure out.
The food is prepared by chef Adoola and you choose the dishes before you enter the dark room. We started with a cold mushroom soup, followed by risotto balls, then an order of shrimp that I passed on because I can’t stand them and I’m a vegetarian, and next came a vegetarian ravioli for me and lasagna for everyone who, from listening to their praise, must have been extremely delicious. When we were done we were guided outside the room again into the reception with the light amount gradually increasing to allow your eyes to adjust again after the darkness. We then got to see our fellow diners and finally meet them. One of them was a young artist, Basma Al-Saeed, who is fourteen-years-old and paints amazing pictures. We had the pleasure of meeting her and she said I could post her picture in my blog.
Young Basma had won many award for her artwork. She will also be participating in the upcoming Proud to be Kuwaiti annual exhibition. I can’t work to pass by and see her work insah2 Allah. Keep up the good work Basma! You can check her artwork and her updates on her instagram account (@Basma_Alsaeed).
It was quite an experience dining at The Dark Room last night. Its gives you a fresh new perspective on how darkness enhances your other senses and a new found appreciation for the gift of sight. In similar restaurants abroad, the waiters who serve the customers are blind people but in Kuwait the waiters wear night vision goggles. The menu is prepared by Chef Adoola and the price for entry including dinner is 15 KD.
If you are afraid of the dark, don’t like to be touched, and can’t bear to be separated from your smart phone, and your idea of dining out mostly involves staring at people, then The Dark Room is not for you. Otherwise, if you are up to a new experience with no one staring at you and no screaming children running around, then you should be waiting for The Dark Room opening which is going to be soon.