The concept of dining in the dark is not a new one, yet not everyone has the fortune of traveling to Paris or London and having the opportunity to try the Dans le Noir restaurants. They have however been the inspiration for French Creation Group‘s opening of Hong Kong’s very own dinner in the dark experience! Opened just last week, Alchemy is located where Taboo once stood on Arbuthnot Road, and is on two levels – the ground level features a modern and inviting bar area, and cozy lounge seating areas, complete with lush velvet chairs and shelves lined with books – a library of alchemist’s secrets! The entrance area is lined with mock medicine drawers to reinforce the theme.
When you arrive, someone will explain the experience to you, and the dos and don’ts of dining in the dark. You can either opt for a 3 course dinner with bottled water only at HK$500, or add three wine pairings for an additional HK$200. You will have to leave your bag and belongings in a locker before you sit – for the moment there has been a small oversight with making the lockers only big enough to hold a clutch handbag, but that will be rectified. Each table will have one waiter to guide you and serve you through your meal. The are fully aware of the entire layout of the restaurant and can navigate it perfectly, memorise all of your names, giving clear instructions on who to pass the plate to, which direction the water and the wine is coming from, and personally escorting you to the bathroom if needed. And they are all visually impaired.
As far as the guides are concerned, this is a restaurant that gives back to the community – five percent of the restaurants profits go to the Hong Kong Society of the Blind. With no service charge, we tipped directly, and generously.
Once you have been given the low down on the dinner, you are lead through a series of blackout curtains to your table. To preserve the experience for all of you, I will not do what a food blogger is always itching to do, which is tell you every little detail about what we ate – I don’t want to ruin the surprise or give anything away – what made this meal interesting was the sensory response to every aspect of it. However I do have some photos for you …