Let There Be Light

When a theatre is dark it means it’s between shows. When a restaurant is dark, it means that you eat in the DARK (we’re talking pitch black!) and your waiter is blind. At least that’s the case at Dunkel Restaurant Unsicht-Bar in Berlin. But, wow, what an experience!

It all started when we ordered off a menu in what appeared to be written in very broken English (while still in the light of the lobby). Then our waiter, Heti, came out took our order and then proceeded to lead us into the dark restaurant conga line style with hands on eachother’s shoulders. Once inside, it was darker than any dark I have ever seen (no crack of light anywhere), and Hedi did a wonderful job talking me down from a near anxiety attack from claustrophobia. He showed us the table by guiding our hands and touching the place setting. When the first (salad) course arrived, he told us it was ok to eat with our hands. We opted for a fork though and managed quite well. It was completely surreal. Every direction you turned your head and still saw nothing, and meanwhile I’m having a conversation with a great friend (most definitely a bonding experience).

We started to recognize strange things like sound of Heti’s footsteps or the weight of our food on our forks (although we still couldn’t figure out what we were eating exactly, however delicious it was). He made us fill our own water glasses, and suggested we stick our finger in the glass to ensure it didn’t overflow. Three hours later we’re still in the dark, savoring dessert. I found the ice cream first (with my fingers), then a lovely apple tart (heavy), only to be surprised later by berries and chocolate twists. Yes, every bite was an experience. And this was one of those times where you seriously could lick your plate clean and no one would ever know! . . Tomorrow we’re hoping to visit the Die Imaginare Manufaktur to see work by blind artisans – all of this “research” will help Felice with some workshops she’s leading with blind artists, so stay tuned for those – it’s really a wonderful way to experience how someone else lives. (thanks Emily for giving us the idea on Cup of Jo).

More Dining Experiences: Looks like you can eat “Dans Le Noir” in Paris as well. And while in Italy, why not eat in a high security prison at Fortezza Medicea in Volterra, Italy, complete with murderers and robbers for your waiters? Be warned there’s a 2 month reservation process complete with security check.

P.S. Berlin is wonderful. Amazing visits to the Holocaust Memorial and the East Side Gallery (Berlin wall graffiti). There will be more links and plenty of pictures (I’ve already shot over 400 – don’t worry, I’ll edit!) in the next couple weeks. We’ve been here less than 36 hours, seen a ton, but there’s so much more to experience. More soon.

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