I love Singapore because there are so many new dining concepts up and coming every year. And when I heard about NOX – Dine in the Dark Restaurant from my friend and cousin, I was so excited to try it. I didn’t want to wait for the media invite because I presume there will be too many of us and the experience won’t be as genuine. So just yesterday, I grabbed Rae to try it with me.
We arrived at the restaurant at 6pm. I had called to make reservations three days before and the staff told me they were fully booked from 7pm onwards and only 6pm slot is left. Of course grab lah! Wahseh, new restaurant already so famous. The restaurant will check if you have any dietary restrictions beforehand, so you no need to worry yeah~
The first storey of the modern chic restaurant is a bar and open kitchen concept. There is a huge sitting area for you to chill out and wait for our guide to bring us up. We had our amuse busche which is soft clams with swordfish. And you can order cocktails or beer or wine if you want, with an additional charge. We chilled out for about 10 mins before the staff came to tell us that our guide is waiting for us. We had to lock all our belongings in the locker and NOT ALLOWED to bring anything that gives out light.
We were greeted by this handsome young man Halimi at the door. We shook hands and we introduced to each other. Then, I was asked to hold on his shoulders with both hands, while Rae held on to my shoulders. The three of us climbed up a flight of stairs. I didn’t count how many steps there were, but it was already pitch dark before we finish climbing. Halimi gave us clear directions of where to turn. Here is our conversation.
Halimi:”Maureen, is everything okay?”
Me:”Yes I am good.”
Halimi:”Then why are you walking baby steps?!!?!? You can just walk normally.”
Me:”HAHAHAHAHHAHAA SORRY. I AM SCARED LAH.”
After a turn (I think), we reached our table. Halimi tapped the back of the chair and said to me:”This is the back of your chair, Maureen. Hear it? Now stretch out you hands and feel it.”
Ok…. Got cushion one…. I sat down comfortably. Then Halimi guided Rae to her seat. Halimi explained that there are about 4 rooms, with a total seating capacity of 60. He took charge of 3 of the rooms I think. Our room is in rectangular shape. Length is about 12 steps. Breadth is about 7 steps.
Rae was sitting opposite me. I asked Rae to stretch out her hand, I tried to reach her. The distance between both of us is about one and half arm’s length. We couldn’t feel anything on both sides but based on the sound we heard from our neighbouring diners, I guess the distance of our tables is about two arms length.
Halimi then gave us orientation of what’s on our table. “So on your right are your fork and spoon. In front of it is a cup. It is a three course dinner – appetizers, main, dessert. Each course comes with 4 different types of small dishes. When each course is served, you start eating from the one closest to you. Then you move in a clockwise direction.”
We got ourselves a bottle of still water. Halimi placed it in the middle of the table for us.
Me:”Alamak, how to pour water?”
Halimi:”Just feel for your cup and pour.”
Me:”Huh, how I know if it will overflow?”
Halimi:”Put a finger into the cup and pour. Stop when the water reaches your finger.”
Maybe because it was pitch dark, my sense of hearing super good. I can really hear water flowing into my cup. After a few seconds maybe, I burst out laughing. ” I feel like I have been pouring water for myself very long liao, but why it hasn’t reach the brim ah? Did it land on the table?” I think we kind of lost of sense of time in darkness. Like I don’t know how long have I eaten.
You must be wondering how am I going to blog about the food if I am eating it in pitch darkness? HEHE. I drew them for you lor! Since I cannot bring my camera up to the pitch dark restaurant. But all these are my own assumption of what we had ah. NOT THE REAL INTERPRETATIONS. Ingredients may be wrong.
The dishes were served in those 铁板 feel-alike plate, with four small porcelain bowls in the middle. It is funny lah, Rae say one of the dishes is soup which I thought it was egg. I decided not to reveal ALL of what I have because it will spoil your fun. So if this post intrigued you, try it yourself.
Second course came almost immediately. I was reaching for my fork and spoon. I don’t know which one is my fork, which one is my spoon. I got my hands dirtied by touching them.
Me:”How you know which one is fork, which one is spoon ah?”
Rae:”I just put them in my mouth.”
HAHAHAHHAHA THIS IS SO FUNNY. WHY RAE SO SMART. Why didn’t I think of putting them in my mouth. I hope I didn’t dirty my pants.
Halimi was taking care of us throughout the dinner, asking us how is everything and all. He is visually impaired. He worked for SIA as an air steward for a good 10 years before he went for an operation to remove his brain tumor. The doctor told him he may just die in the op theatre, or paralyzed. But thankfully, he only lost his eyesight. He stayed in the hospital for 45 days before getting discharged. The optimistic Hamili didn’t crash, he feels this is not the end of the world. After he recovered, he picked himself up again and even got married.
And he is really interested in service industry, so this job gave him the opportunity to do it again, just like an air steward. I do feel his passion for it and even thought it was my first time meeting him, but we talked like we have known each other for a long time!
Usually I ate faster than Rae but here, I was eating real slowly. Perhaps trying to taste the ingredients, but another reason is: I DON’T KNOW IF I HAVE FINISH THE FOOD. Halimi asked me to feel the four corners of the bowl and see if my fork or spoon can reach the four edges. If yes, means I have finished eating.
The kitchen was actually on first storey, but they have a “elevator” for food to be delivered up to second storey, so it saves Halimi the trouble to walk up and down. Halimi was explaining, he didn’t read via Braille. He had a watch which tells him the time by pressing a button. And he uses voice over to use emails and facebook. After the dinner at NOX, I love my eyes more than anything else.
We are done with our meals about 1.5 hours later. I dropped my napkin onto the floor while Rae dropped her spoon somewhere on the table. We can feel water on our table. LOL. After our desserts, we were guided down back to first storey – where there are lights! Thank you Halimi for being our friendly waiter! I was sooooo glad to be able to see again, seriously. Then we were asked to fill in a questionnaire which asked us to identify ingredients from our dinner. The waitress then showed us the actual menu and photo of how it looked like.
Well, I am not going to tell you if my answers are right a not because I don’t want to spoil the experience. You go and try and tell me if you had the same as me. But when I see the images and menu, I was exclaiming “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” So it is up to your own interpretation.
I had a memorable dining experience at NOX. Food quality is justifiable for the amount we paid for. We paid $78 per pax. But I think most importantly, it is the take home message to take care of your eyes. Through my dinner in the dark, I could hear much better. I could hear what other tables are talking, sorry I didn’t mean to eavesdrop. And my taste palate become more sensitive. We often took advantage of our eyes and never really “taste” our food. But this has definitely thought me to appreciate our food and ingredients.
Just like you are in an eskimo bar, you will drink lots of beer because you feel cold. You won’t feel that you had too much until you got out of the place. I felt dining at NOX will make me very full. Because it is pitch dark and I can’t see so I just eat ALL. Or maybe I didn’t clear my bowls clean. My suggestion to you is to eat very very very slowly. Enjoy food, enjoy how each ingredients married to each other to give you a beautiful end product.
Yup, that’s my experience at NOX. Note that all the drawings I did are NOT real representation of the actual dishes. They are just my perception of what was served and may not be accurate. Have you dined in the dark already? Share your experience with me!
NOX – Dine in the Dark Restaurant
Address: 269 Beach Road
Tel: 6298 0708