It took me weeks to write this article, it was painful to find the right words to express one of the best experiences of my life, yes dining in the dark exceeded my expectations, and it was much better than I expected.
In august 2016 I was in Cambodia (Phnom Penh) with my family, that day my mom and grandmother were tired, they decided to stay in, it means it was just me, my sister and her boyfriend left, since we are young and in Phnom Penh in summer, staying in at night wasn’t an option, we were scrolling through trip advisor trying to find a nice place to have dinner, my sister came across dining in the dark, to be honest I was surprised that they had one in Cambodia, I heard about this restaurant and the concept but I also knew that just a few cities had one.
As far as I was concerned, dining in the dark restaurants were located in the big hip metropolitan like KL, Zurich, Berlin I even heard there’s one in Beijing and according to my researches I knew that its pretty pricey, because of the experience of course and also the food itself, normally prepared by a Michelin star chef. My sister really wanted to go but I wasn’t so convinced, first I taught it’s probably overpriced and second, what is it so special about eating in a dark room anyway?
Thankfully I listened to her, because I surely will never forget this experience and I wouldn’t mind going back again and again, it wasn’t just one of the best meals I ever had and the best service, it was such a learning and humbling experience that I will try my best to describe it and try to convince you to try when you visit Cambodia.
First of all, I was shocked that such an amazing restaurant with an Unique concept wasn’t overbooked and overpriced, it was seriously so affordable, we called at 7 and booked a table for 8 the same day, it was as easy as that. As we got there the lovely ladies greeted us, the decor was trendy, sexy and intimate, with some blue and purple lights, we sat and got an introduction of how the menu works and what we can expect after we go upstairs.
Basically they had 3 set menus as you can notice by the image, bear in mind that this menu is designed by a Michelin star chef and it only costs 18 $ with 3 courses, that’s one of the reasons why I love Cambodia, to be honest I wasn’t expecting much of the food I just went for the experience but the food was unbelievable good, one of the best I’ve ever tasted, perhaps is the fact that I couldn’t see and my other senses like my taste buds were more accurate, I don’t know, but its was delicious and the daiquiri, I won't even comment on that because it was perfectly amazing.
After choosing the menus, they told us the rules and gave us a brief introduction of the restaurant, the concept behind it, the servers are actually blind and part of the money will help blind organizations in Cambodia (such a humble act) dining for a cause, they also told us we couldn’t take our phones, camera, bags upstairs.
The moment of truth finally came, the server came to take us upstairs, we all followed him one after the other with our hands in the next persons arms, as soon as we entered the room, it was dark, I’ve never experienced such a dark place, I started to hear other people talking, I tough we would be in a private room, but no, its really like a restaurant, there’s other tables and other people eating and talking, its so weird to hear laughs and voices and not being able to see them.
We finally got to our seats and we were excited, we tried to find some light and obviously we were unsuccessful, time went by so fast, the meals kept coming, we ate with our hands and gave to each other some of our food to try, we sang to James blunt songs with girls from another table that we didn’t knew who they were and will probably never know, its funny how we become more brave and shameless as long as no one is seeing us and judging us,there was moments that our table and other 2 tables were singing all at the same time, we laughed hard and there was this weird sense of belonging and understanding, probably because we were all in the same situation, we tried to imagine how Ray Charles and Stevie wonder may feel and all the blind people in general, obviously I cant say that I know how does it feel, but I can say that I had a little introduction to it and it was hard and confusing for the first ten,fifteen minutes.
As time went by and the cocktails and the amazing food kept coming I got more relaxed(food is always the solution isn’t it?) it was a beautiful moment, one that I will never forget, because It was definitely one of the most meaningful and beautiful moments of my life, I am so thankful that my sister insisted that we experience it, and experiencing it with my loved ones makes it even more meaningful, memories that we will cherish forever.
After the dinner the lady was showing us the dishes that we tried, and we were pretty much impressed by some of them that we guessed wrong.
Overall it was one of the greatest experiences of my life, yes my life, I know its deep but to be honest I cant explain the nostalgia, the sadness than happiness than humbleness all those mixed emotions that I experienced in about 2 hours and that’s basically what Cambodia was for me, I felt in love with this Country its people even with one of the saddest histories but always happy and kind, its food, culture, humanitarian character, Cambodia is a Special place, from beautiful islands, to great food, amazing temples full of history, to charming people, I visited temples, sip cocktails in gorgeous beaches, ate great gourmet and street food meals, but at the same time I cried listening to the atrocious stories on the war camps, I felt emotional in so many occasions by learning more and more about this country, I Thank God for being able to open my two eyes everyday and I pray for those who aren’t able to, the amount of happiness and gratitude that I felt for life and for the small little things in this Country,it was almost like transcendent.
I will stop rambling, I think there’s no need to convince you further to visit Cambodia and phnom penh and when you do, please experience Dining in the Dark you wont regret, I can guarantee you.
With Love from Melody
Address: 126, Street 19, Preah Ang Yukanthor Street (19), Phnom Phen City, Cambodia
Phone:+855 77 589 458