The food you savor doesn’t always have to be visually appealing. You know why? Dining in the dark at Phoenix Market City, Bangalore could probably tell you why.
Niya and a clan of people met their unknown guide as they entered the pitch dark, flat wood surfaced hallway. Mousabil, her guide in the dark, introduced himself in a highly accented loud voice, and so did the other anxious diners in the hallway. Being the very first in the line, she got to shake hands with Mousabil. She wondered what he looked like.
Walking for about half a minute in line with arms stretched on each other’s shoulders, she entered a room filled with a fusion of aromas. Her nostrils had a hard time guessing the menu for the dinner she had already paid for. She impatiently waited to be seated somewhere. She detested the screech of the wheels of the food trolley produced while being pushed from one corner of the hall to the other. The shrieks and shouts across the hall clearly indicated a lot of commotion like most of the restaurants in India. Many other people in that dark world were equally clueless as she was.
Being the eavesdropper she has always been, she eavesdropped on other diners’ random conversations.
Mousabil made way for her family and left them with Radha, who was more than happy to find them a seat. She was told that her sister was seated on her left and that her parents were seated facing them. She started running her hands up and down the cold wall on her right as Radha introduced herself. Radha left them unattended, promising to get back with some lip-smacking non-veg soup and starters in five minutes. As Radha left, they started talking about how surreal the restaurant was. There was no faint candlelight nor a single ray of light to replace darkness. They wondered how the guides and attenders managed in the dark. She had no reasons to believe that they had night vision glasses on them but yet chose to believe so.
A little more than five minutes later, our food arrived. Radha placed a bowl right in front of her and left a plate of starters next to her right wall. Everyone seated at her table got served the same. She slurped the soup, which had chunks of chicken and a lot of cream in it. She was conscious about her dining habits, but her family was not as bothered as she was about the poor dining etiquette that they exhibited.
If the attenders and guides had no night vision glasses, then there was probably no one who saw what they did, but she strongly believed they were watching over them. She dug into the boat-shaped plate that had chicken lollipops in it. She had begun to enjoy this culinary experience in absolute darkness as she had a predilection for the sense of touch. She enjoyed being the haptic woman she had turned out to be that night.
They found the food to be phenomenal. In another ten minutes, Mousabil guided them out of the hallway, and they conveyed their gratitude to Mousabil and Radha for assisting them in the dark. Though she wanted to enquire their whereabouts and how they managed to guide them in the absence of light, she refrained from posing that question. At the exit, she rubbed her eyes as bright yellow light hit her eye lens. She looked down and found a pair of pointed shiny black shoes and eventually lifted her head to take a look at the unknown guide who had been really sweet to her family. She stood face to face and shook hands for one last time with the smart young Mousabil, who happened to have a pair of milky eyes. The realization that Mousabil and the rest of his colleagues were blind left them baffled.
Well, now you know why the food you savor doesn’t have to be all that visually appealing. It is because food always tastes best when your other senses tell you how it’s like and not your eyes.
If you are the person who likes doing many ‘once in a lifetime things,’ then this is where you should go next. Taste of Darkness has its branches in Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore. It is the only restaurant of its kind. I thought the name said it all, but there is a lot more that gets unveiled as you set out to experience absolute darkness. Feel the pinch of darkness in an all-new way. I had a lot of fun, and I’m sure you will too.