Hello, beautiful people. Before I go deep into reviewing Angkor or Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace, I would like to tell you an amazing experience I had in Phnom Penh, to which I think everyone should try.
One of my favourite romantic movie, which I first watched with Pete on our first few weeks of dating: About Time. This movie basically taught us to live our life gratefully every day because you’ll never know what could or could not happen. In one of the scene, the male character Tim, met Mary for the first time at Dans le Noirl; a chain of restaurants where guests are served in total darkness, a concept called dark dining or blind dining. I told Peter, we have to try that restaurant when we go to London, but when we did, it cost like 50 pounds per person for a set menu and I found it pretty pricey for what it is.
While in Phnom Penh, we stayed at Okay Boutique Hotel (trust me, the hotel was so much more than ‘okay’) and when we walked down the street we spotted Phnom Penh’s Dine in the Dark restaurant. So, on our last night before heading to Siem Reap… we were undecided about either to spend 15 USD to watch Cambodian traditional dance, or 18 USD to eat in the dark. The choice fell to the latter.
We made a reservation for 7 pm. The restaurant is a two-storey building, you will first greeted at the first floor which serves as a tea house for visitors to sit and chill with tea. First, you would be asked to choose one from three set menu (18 USD per person): Khmer, International, or Vegetarian. I chose International and Peter had the Khmer food.
After choosing your menu, they will ask you to put any of electronic devices you brought with you in a box with lock, you may keep the keys in your bag during your meal. This was done to prevent you to get any lights from your mobile/camera screens.
The visually impaired server, Alfredo greeted me. He asked me to follow him by putting my hands on his shoulder, and Peter came behind me by putting his hands on my shoulder. As soon as we reached the end of the stairs, the room get darker but I could still see a little bit. There was a set of black curtains and once you enter the dining room behind these curtains, my God, it was a total pitch black I couldn’t see anything not even my own hands. I tried to waved my fingers in front of my eyes but still no, I couldn’t see anything.
Alfredo walked quickly, and comfortably around the room. He served us our meals and drinks. You would wonder if by not seeing the things you eat, would it affect my appetite? And by not seeing the people you’re eating with… would it feels like you are eating alone?
Starts with my appetizer, it was some kind of seafood salad, at first I thought it was tuna, but turned out I had crab meat. I hate crab. But that night for the first time I ate them and I enjoyed it. Things did feel different when you are left not knowing what you eat. One sense shutted down, your other senses became stronger. I managed to guess my main course and 100% guessed my dessert.
As we sat and eating our dinner, we talked like normal but our conversation was mainly circling around the topic how unbelievably dark it was, and how amazing those servers were. We could hear them walked, worked, and made jokes around and laughed. Having eaten in the dark, not only open my eyes on how to be grateful for the sights I have, but also open my eyes to be more appreciative to the food we have. I have become less fussy about my food and in a whole, more grateful.
It was definitely a fun experience, the food tastes amazing too. I loved, loved, loved my dessert (I am a sweet tooth) and I’d recommend anyone to come and eat here whenever they have got the chance to go to Phnom Penh. Dine in the Dark is available in many other countries (mostly in Europe) but for the price you pay in Phnom Penh, this place is definitely worth a visit.
Dine in the Dark
126, Street 19