For our last dinner in Vietnam we wanted to do something special and decided upon Noir - firstly for the experience and more importantly to help the cause.
The experience of dining in pitch darkness was something we were not sure how our mind and body would react to. But, from the time Germ (one of the co-founders) greeted us at the door we were made to completely ease down through welcome drinks, blindfolded games and the staff explaining to us how the entire experience would be conducted. We were asked to keep in a locker our phones, watches, bags and any other item that might emit light, distract us or obstruct movement in the pitch dark dining room.
At the entrance to the pitch dark dining room we were introduced to Bao, our visually impaired guide, who greeted us by our names, led us to our table, helped us take our seats, explained to us the positions of the cutlery & wet towel and laid out our napkins.
While making our reservation, way back in September 2019, we had opted for their 'Flavours from the East' menu with three course mystery drinks and soon Bao took us through a culinary journey unlike any. The three course meal and drinks included exotic flavours, vegetables and meats.
The starters included two soups and two salads, which Bao placed in front of us and served us our drinks. We were asked to start from the top right corner, proceeding clockwise. The blindfolded games that we played initially helped us through this phase.
Once we were done with the starters Bao cleared the table and served us the main course and drinks. This too had four dishes and we were once again asked to start from the top right corner, proceeding clockwise.
Once we were done with our main course and were chatting about the dishes, both Shabbir and I realized that both of us thought we were sitting on a circular table but the table actually was a rectangle and had two corners on each of our sides. After spending about 30 mins in the dark room we were now comfortable with our space.
Bao returned to clear the table and served us our desserts and drinks. It had three dishes and we were asked to go from left to right.
With us completing our desserts our culinary journey with Bao ended. He led us back to the entrance of the pitch dark dining room where the other staff greeted us, helped us collect our belongings and took us to the waiting lounge. Here we were shown the photographs of the dishes we had and were also explained each ingredient, flavour and texture we felt while dining in the dark. We were also explained the drinks we had and the details about their flavors. Every dish tasted outstanding, a truly fine dining culinary experience. We were surprised that we ate and enjoyed a lot of ingredients, which we otherwise had preconceived notions about and would not eat at any cost if we would have seen them.
Beyond being a truly unique fine dining experience, Noir, and its sister restaurant Blanc, provide livelihood to visually impaired and hearing impaired individuals, while educating people about accepting these individuals into the mainstream society without any discrimination.
This is a very noble cause and something we are quite happy to have been able to participate in during our time in Vietnam.
Note: We have purposely not explained any of the dishes and did not share photographs even of the lounge area as we do not want to take away from you any bit of the surprise element that come in galore through the entire #noirexperience