THERE’S a new restaurant opening at Staffordshire’s historic Swinfen Hall next month – but they’re keeping guests in the dark and keeping mum about the menu.
Throughout March, the 250-year-old country house hotel is hosting a pop-up eatery run by world-renowned dine-in-the-dark experience Dans Le Noir?
Since opening in Paris in 2004, Dans Le Noir? has expanded worldwide, offering diners the opportunity to taste gourmet, creative and seasonal cuisine in complete darkness.
The idea is that, deprived of sight, guests’ senses of taste, touch and smell are hightened, allowing them to truly taste the mystery dishes served up by the chefs.
Upon arrival, diners are asked to remove any shiny objects they are wearing and place them into a safe for the duration of the experience. Phones and photography are banned, too.
You’re then led into the pitch-dark restaurant by a blind guide, and escorted to a table where an introduction to the experience will be made and service begins.
Critically, you won’t know what’s on the menu until the end, which allows you to truly savour every flavour and texture. It is, quite literally, a feast for the senses.
Organisers say surprise menus will “surprise and delight”, using seasonal organic fruit and vegetables, free range and outdoor reared meats, complemented by a specially curated wine menu.
It is the first time that Dans Le Noir? has opened a pop-up, adding to established eateries in London, Birmingham and Manchester here in the UK, and many more worldwide.
Swinfen Hall is set in a 100-acre estate with landscaped gardens and a private deer park in the Staffordshire countryside, with 18 bedrooms and a fine reputation for food.
The kitchen has held the AA three-rosette accolade for more than five years and is headed by chef Ed Dutton who brings a wealth of experience having worked in Michelin star restaurants around Europe and London.
An exciting food events calendar includes Valentine’s supper, afternoon tea days, tasting menu special events, a monthly Sunday lunch and pop-up dining events throughout the year.
To book a dine-in-the-dark experience, priced £95 a head for three courses and wine, see www.swinfenhallhotel.co.uk/dining-in-the-dark/. Tables are available Wednesday to Sunday throughout March.