The first and only dine in the dark experience in the Middle East, Noire is a restaurant that everyone should visit at least once while in Dubai. When I first heard about the concept I got very excited at the thought of trying something different! The concept is quite simple yet innovative, you have a 3 course dinner meal in pitch darkness and no one can see anything except the waiters who are wearing night goggles (Yes, they do have some funny stories to tell if you stick around after dinner!)
We arrived at 7.00pm with dinner scheduled to start at 7.30pm. We were first led to a small reception area where we had welcome drinks and were briefed on what to expect inside the room. Now mind you, I hadn’t actually thought about dining in pitch darkness until that moment when we were told to put our hands on each others shoulders as we were led group by group to our tables inside the “room”. As we first entered the pitch blackness, I did think about turning back and walking out! However, here is where something very special about Noire comes in, and it is the waiters and service. The waiter that led us to the table was very kind as he took me by the hand and led me to my seat, helped me place my bag and explained where everything on the table was. The same was done for every person who then entered the room and throughout the entire night the waiters were always on point in helping out whenever we needed anything.
As for our meal, we had 3 courses scheduled and you can inform the team prior about any allergies that you might have. The menu changes every week so there is no way you can know beforehand what you are going to be eating that day. As the appetizers were set on the table came the challenge of figuring out how to eat! Where was my food? Did I scoop up anything the first time? (Usually not btw, and a tip is to scoop from outside in rather than top down) Then when I finally managed to put something on that spoon, came the question of what exactly am I eating? Something was crunching, but then there was some sauce, was it fish? chicken? You would be surprised at how dumbed down our taste senses are when we’re not seeing what we’re about to eat. As people ease up and get used to the darkness, they start chatting and laughing freely. People start guessing what’s on the main dish menu out loud as it is placed in front of us. Funny thing is, your taste buds don’t get better at recognition by the time dessert comes.
After almost an hour and a half, our waiters lead us back to the reception area where our chef is waiting with a full display of the three course menu that we had just eaten inside. The “fish” I thought I was eating turned out to be Foie Gras, the main dish was duck on a bed of mashed potato (I did guess the mashed potato, but the duck took me a while before I eventually guessed, I first thought it was steak!), the dessert turned out to be sponge cake and ice cream (which was probably the only thing that almost everyone guessed right)
We stayed back to chat with Reagan, one of our waiters for the night who has been with Noire since it opened, and he spoke to us about some of the funny stories that he has witnessed during the past 4 years. It was very awe inspiring to see the attachment that the team had to the restaurant, they spoke to us about how they place a personal touch on every event they help people organizing whether it was a birthday, a proposal (yes, a proposal in pitch darkness, I’m just glad the poor bride to be didn’t swallow her ring!). They even showed us some photos they took of the different events they helped organize. Service in such an experience is very important as the guests cannot see anything, so a big amount of trust is placed in these waiters and rightly so because this team understands the importance of customers having a good time! Of course, we also got to try on the night goggles and go inside the room and see everything from the perspective of the waiters, which is something I would also definitely recommend doing.
Noire runs every Friday to Monday with one seating between 7.30-10 pm, with the room having a capacity of 30-40 people. It is priced at AED 325 per person.