Dinner in the Dark: One of the Best Dining Experiences of 2016

There are awesome dinners. And then, there are epic ones.

Two weeks ago, I had the most amazing and unforgettable dining experience: Dinner in the Dark at CRU Steakhouse in Manila Marriott Hotel. I've had a number of spectacular meals this year—some even more delicious than this one—but nothing beats this in terms of uniqueness!

Ever heard of those restaurants in London, Paris, and Singapore where diners eat in total darkness? The idea is the same, except that we had to wear eye masks instead of entering a completely dark room. It simulates this fascinating concept where diners don't get to see their food before they eat it and instead enjoy their meals using only the senses of smell, taste, and touch. I've been telling myself I need to try this when I fulfill my dream of going on a Europe trip, so imagine my happiness when I realized I was about to experience it right here in Manila!

The guys responsible for bringing Dinner in the Dark to the Philippines is Eye Society, the premier eye wear brand that offers the finest luxury eye products and services. They partnered up with Manila Marriott Hotel to hold a series of dinners that started last August, which coincides with Sight-Saving Month. This dining concept is designed not only to provide a one-of-a-kind experience to foodies, but also to spread more awareness about blindness (specifically, corneal blindness). In fact, each 4-course dinner enjoyed by participants of Dinner in the Dark contributes to the Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines, a non-stock, non-profit, non-government organization that operates a medical eye banking facility for the distribution of eye tissues for transplant, research, and education.

I was invited by Manila Marriott Hotel to join the last round of Dinner in the Dark, and as I entered CRU Steakhouse, I couldn't help but really feel excited because (1) I have tried CRU's dishes before and they were exquisite; and (2) I was about to tick off one item from my foodie bucket list. After settling into my seat, the "darkness facilitator" approached me and informed me that in a few minutes, I would have to wear my blindfold and experience a meal like no other.


And then someone said over the microphone that it was time to put on our eye masks, and the next thing I knew, I was engulfed in total darkness, fumbling for my utensils, table napkin, and water glass. The first course was served—I knew when I heard the light thud of a heavy plate being set down in front of me. The facilitators gave us really helpful tips, like familiarizing ourselves first with the sizes of our plates before trying to dig into the food, and associating the placement of our dinnerware with the positions of the hands of a clock (i.e. knife at 3 o'clock, glass at 1 o'clock, etc.). Sensing for the components of our dishes with our forks and knives and gathering them towards the center of the plate was a huge help too!

What struck me the most—more than the real challenge of putting food into my mouth—was how appreciative I became of each component of the dishes. As a blogger who is used to taking a truckload of photos first before eating my food, I found it sweet to enjoy my food as soon as it is laid down in front of me (LOL) and because I had no visual access to it, I didn't care whether it was plated perfectly or not. All I knew was how juicy the shrimps from our appetizer course were, and how the citrus elements (turned out to be green mango and calamansi gel) further brought out their flavors. All I knew was that truffle was the best thing that happened to soup (as demonstrated by the Bautista Organica Farm Mushroom Espresso), and that a great steak IS a great steak no matter how it looks. All I knew was that coffee and chocolate is the perfect marriage.

But more than that, I was able to get a "glimpse" of how it was like to be blind. Surely, blind people have sharpened senses of smell, touch, taste, and hearing, as well as a better sense of appreciation for most—if not all—important things, such as food.

Thank you to Marriott Hotel for this unforgettable experience and to Eye Society for bringing Dinner in the Dark to Manila!

CRU Steakhouse
G/F Marriott Hotel Manila, #10 Newport Bldv., Newport City, Pasay City
(02) 988.9990 local 8109
Sun – Thu: 6:00PM – 10:30PM; Fri – Sat: 6:00PM – 11:30PM
Dress code: smart casual; shorts and slippers not allowed
Special note: kids below 10 years old are not allowed

Eye Society PH

Have you tried dining in the dark? What was your most unforgettable meal ever?

My meal was sponsored by Manila Marriott Hotel. All opinions, however, are my own.

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