Dining in the dark may not be a new concept – it dates back to the 18th century – but it’s certainly a novel one.
Diners eat (or attempt to) in absolute darkness guided only by their senses of smell, taste and touch.
The idea is to raise awareness about blindness and turn the tables on society’s attitudes to disability.
With your sense of sight completely removed, you suddenly find yourself appreciating your food in a different way, becoming more receptive to differences in texture, consistency and temperature.
Fully sighted guests must put all their faith in the staff, gaining an understanding of what life with a visual impairment is like in the process.
“Studies have shown that 80 percent of people eat with their eyes,” says Helen Rowe from local charity Henshaws, which provides expert care, advice and training to those affected by sight loss and other disabilities..
“So with that sense eliminated, the theory is that the other senses – namely taste and smell – take over,” she explains.
Henshaws have teamed up with the renowned Albert Square Chop House to put on an experimental dinner which will comprise a four-course meal and guided wine pairing from in-house sommelier George Bergier.
One of Manchester’s most renowned wine experts, George will be talking guests through a hand-selected wine list, which he has specially designed to complement executive chef Lee Ferguson’s menu.
And Manchester-born visually impaired poet and songwriter Dave Steele will be sharing his story and poems in between courses – including his poem Stand by Me RP, which was written after being diagnosed with sight loss disease, retinitis pigmentosa, and went on to become the number 1 poetic release in both America and Australia.
Dinner in the Dark will take place at Albert Square Chop House on Thursday 14th March from 7pm.
Tickets cost £65 per person and every ticket purchased will support the work that Henshaws’ is doing to give emotional and practical help across the north west of England for adults and children living with a visual impairment.