The Dark Restaurant is the only restaurant in Poland that gives you a unique opportunity to eat dinner in inky blackness. Located in Poznań, the locale seems to be an interesting alternative to regular eating places. Unfortunately, apart from the experience, it does not have much to offer.
I found it extremely confusing to get to the Dark Restaurant, despite having a precise address. There was no sign outside of the building, only a small piece of paper glued to the glass door informs passersby that in addition to the restaurant Pod Złotą Jabłonią, there is also the Dark Restaurant inside.
Having crossed the doorstep, I knew that the air-conditioning was not working properly. The musty smell of an unaired basement prevailed in a half-lit room where I was asked to wait for a waiter. When he came, he asked me about my decision concerning the set of dishes I would like to order. The choice was from three sets: Standard, Mood Food and Bizarre Food, priced, respectively, 80, 100 and 120 zl. As I wanted to avoid being served bull’s testis I chose the Standard one, which included a starter, a main dish and a dessert. The prices were relatively high-end, but what bewildered me the most was the price of a cup of tea, which was 15 zl.
I have to admit, however, that the experience was amazing. I had never thought how eating in darkness might be sensually exciting and how it might enhance my sense of smell and taste. The whole procedure was well-thought-out and carried off with diligence. Asking about ingredients I might be allergic to, or what I would rather not have on my plate, waiters with night vision devices guided me to the table and showed me where a plate and cutlery were. Finally, meeting with the chef to confront my impressions of the content of my plate with the actual ingredients was excellent. The staff working there were competent and willing to help at any moment.
For such an astonishing price I expected mouthwatering food composed of original ingredients. Instead, I was served a salad with goat cheese and immediately regretted not having excluded it from the meal earlier, cuscus with chicken and cucumber salad for the main dish and a tart for the dessert. The quality and taste was ok, but this is the best I can say about the food.
Sitting in the complete darkness makes the time pass by slower than normal. Without the possibility of appreciating the interior design or listening to the music in the background I resorted to listening to what people sitting in the tables around were saying in anticipation of my dishes. It would have been a great experience to compare what we had on our plates if it had not been for the fact that the plates were not distributed at the same time and I learnt earlier what would be on my plate from my neighbours’ conversation. Besides, the waiting time was extremely long- I spent almost 2 hours there, most of which was waiting time!
The Dark Restaurant is certainly worth visiting to gain the extraordinary experience, but after having gained it there is no reason to go back. Thus, the number of visits to the Dark Restaurant should be limited to the first one because of a wide range of much better restaurants nearby.