Get ready to jettison your usual eating habits when it comes to one of the island’s newest restaurants. Dining in the Dark Samui is definitely not a typical place to eat. It lacks views of the sea, hills or anything at all – in fact it has no views of any kind. It’s curtained off, and inside there are no windows or even the faintest source of light. Dining in the Dark lives up to its title, utterly – you eat here in total darkness, having a feast, but one that you can only taste and never see. The restaurant, just opened in Bophut, is likely to have no competition in this particular niche in the near, or even distant, future. There are still very, very few places in the world offering this kind of experience; it definitely doesn’t belong in the crowd-pleaser category.
Owners Helen and Tim Keates set it up after dining in like-themed restaurants; they both loved the idea. It was exciting and fun; there was intrigue too – and this is exactly what people are experiencing now in Dining in the Dark Samui. So
how does it work? And what happens if you opt to eat here?
First of all you’ll be welcomed at the restaurant doors and ushered into an elegant and minimalist bar, where you’re welcome to have a drink – there’s pretty much everything on offer here, from cocktails to beer to wines. You’ll also have a very brief explanation of what’s going to happen.
When you’re ready, your waitress will come and introduce herself. Either blind or visually impaired, the staff have been chosen as they have the skills to help diners from the start of their meal to the end. You will be taken into the dining room, which really is in total darkness. Before going in, you’ll be asked to leave your phone and valuables in a locker; the management don’t want there to be sudden sources of light that disturb other diners, nor do they want people to lose
their possessions. Your guide will make sure you’re comfortably seated, and then will start serving the courses. Delicious as everything may be, it can be hard to nail down what the ingredients are. The dinner by the way, is basically western style, but there are some occasional twists. It’s left you to work out what you’re eating – this is all part of the fun, and can be totally enigmatic.
Dining in the Dark isn’t just about the absence of light – you’re also metaphorically in the dark when it comes to what you’re actually eating. The dinner consists of nine courses, divided into starters, mains and desserts – three of each.
Everything’s kept secret, and only the chef, the talented Stephen Ashley, and his staff know what’s for dinner.
After you’ve finished (the dinner will take between an hour and an hour and a half), you’ll be lead back out to the bar, and it’s here that you’ll see photographs of what you’ve eaten. Eat-first, look-later is a strange way to go about anything to do with dining, but here, it works and works well. You’ll be surprised when you find out exactly what you’ve been served – it may be quite different to what you imagined. With a menu that’s always secret, but often changing, you can come back again and will probably be served completely different dishes.
It’s highly recommended that you reserve. This is to give you a chance to state your food preferences, especially if you have a food allergy. And there’ll no doubt be some ingredients that just aren’t for you. Maybe you can’t stand tomatoes, or duck or some sauce or other. Maybe you’re vegan or vegetarian. All this is best stated in advance, as it has a bearing on your
Dining in the Dark is open from 6:00 pm until 11:00 pm every day except Sundays, with the last seating at 9:30 pm. You’re welcome to bring children with you, but they have to be 12 or over – children under this age may feel a bit scared, so for this reason it’s not permitted. Dining like this is sure to be an experience, and it’ll almost certainly be one that’s new to you. Be prepared to enjoy a culinary guessing game like no other and, above all, to have some memorable fun.
For reservations or further information, telephone 0 922 590 510.