There no arguing that Noire – Dubai’s dining in the dark concept – is a fantastically bizarre experience.
But throw in a haunted house theme as Halloween approaches and it takes on a whole new level of surreality.
For those who’ve not sampled Fairmont Dubai’s experiential restaurant, diners tuck into gourmet food in complete darkness – but for the whole of October you do it with an embellishment of screams, pulses of bright light and some very creepy characters.
These appear within moments of stepping out of the darkened elevator – complete with creepy child’s voice predicting bad things – to the ninth floor of the Sheikh Zayed Road hotel.
The respite is brief as Noire’s corridor has been cast a spooky blood red with added mysterious shapes and sounds.
Thankfully, you’re greeted by a pre-dinner drink, accept these are served in fake hospital blood bags, seemingly by disenchanted hospital workers.
So far, so scary…
Checked in by a restaurant team member in a doctor’s mask – and the mechanics of the evening explained – we’re led in small groups to our designated tables.
Forget the little red light and green glare of the night vision goggles worn by waiting staff “nurses” for a moment, this dining space really is completely dark.
You’re encouraged to locate your cutlery and drinking vessel once seated and the food arrives over three courses.
Although you’re not told what’s on the menu, each dish blends textures and empowered flavours that are heightened by the loss of a key sense that usually accompanies fine dining.
We won’t reveal what you’ll be eating, but – even though mercifully no soup is involved – it’s maybe best not to wear white.
This eerie foodie adventure springs from a suitably creepy fictitious yarn about a hospital for the visually impaired on the current grounds of Fairmont Dubai.
“According to the local legend, patients started disappearing mysteriously at the hospital some 55 years ago, eventually forcing its closure. Amongst them, a young dark-haired woman, dressed in white, who can every now and then be seen wandering around the floors of the hotel…”
Either way, the result of Noire’s special edition is a 90-minute multi-sensory, surreal and tasty adventure that’s not for the faint-hearted, but could be great with a group – or with a loved one to cling on to.
“We have to be very careful when managing the textures and flavours at Noire,” explains Executive Chef Renald Epie’s.
“The dining experience takes place in pitch darkness and our guests trust one of their most important senses – vision – to our hands.”
“Creativity is also crucial – to make sure we prepare the gourmet menu in a way that guests won’t guess ingredients at first bite,” continues the chef.
He re-assures us that dietary restrictions and food allergies are something they pay very close attention to.
“During the reservation process, our restaurant reservations team will inquire detailed information about guests’ preferences, so that our chefs can prepare special meals for them, taking our guests preferences into careful consideration,” he adds.
We currently have a competition running to win a seat at this spooky table, enter before 14th October for a chance to win dinner for four.
Noire’s haunted dining in the dark experience continues until October 31, Monday-Saturday, at 7:30pm – one seating per evening, by reservation only. It costs AED360 (soft beverages) or AED399 (grape pairing), per person. Advance bookings via phone: 04 311 8316.