Lichfield, UK


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They say you eat with your eyes before you even bite into your food. So what happens when you take that part of the dining experience away? What if you can't see the meal you are about to devour? What if you decide to dine in the dark...?

Dans Le Noir, which literally translates to "in the dark", is an international company specialising in sensory dining experiences. The group have several locations across the world including, London, Paris, Madrid, and now a pop up at Swinfen Hall Hotel in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside. 

The pop up runs from Wednesday to Saturday until the end of March and is priced at £95 per person for 3 courses. 

the reception area at Swinfen Hall hotel. In the foreground a large black grand piano can be seen.
The reception area inside the 18th Century Swinfen Hall hotel

So what can you expect for almost one hundred Great British pounds?

Well this is no ordinary meal. From start to finish, you will dine completely in the dark. No phones, no glow in the dark watches, absolutely nothing that can cast any light is allowed into the dining area. Before entering the darkness you are greeted by a visually impaired server who will carefully escort you to your table and wait on you throughout the evening. 

The three courses you are served cannot be chosen beforehand, and you will only truly know what you have just consumed once the meal has finished and the team can talk you through the menu. To avoid any issues you can let the team know in advance if there is anything you can't or wont eat.

The entrance to the dining in the dark experience
The entrance to the dining in the dark experience

What did I think of the dining in the dark experience?

The event was unlike anything I had done before. As a fussy eater I felt like this was completely out of my comfort zone, and while there were times I was slightly unnerved by the idea of eating something unknown, the experience as a whole was very enjoyable. I very quickly realised just how much texture plays a part in whether or not I find a dish appealing, and believe me, it is very important. I also learned that I actually can't tell what I'm eating by smell or taste alone. Madness!

Though I did spill a drink or two, I thankfully didn't make too much mess, and I did very much revel in the novelty of dining in the dark, or should I say Dans Le Noir! 

I was incredibly surprised by the menu at the end of the night and even found myself enjoying things I would never even dream of ordering in a regular restaurant. My comfort zone was well and truly smashed and I'm actually okay with that.

So what was on the menu at Swinfen Hall? I guess you'll just have to find out yourself by dining in the dark...

Thanks for reading!

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Looking out across the grounds of Swinfen Hall. In the foreground a pond and fountain can be seen.
Overlooking the grounds at Swinfen Hall hotel


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