“Legend has it that many years ago there was 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.”– Noire (Fairmont Dubai)
This October, multi-award-winning ‘dine in the dark’ restaurant Noire at Fairmont (Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai) takes on a spine-chilling persona in the spirit of Halloween.
As if dining in the dark wasn’t novelty enough, this special edition 3-course dinner is based on a tale about a haunted hospital.
It all started off with the lights going off in the butler-operated elevator. A sing-song child’s voice warns us of our impending doom. We cautiously walk into a narrow auburn-lit corridor leading to the bar, only to be spooked by the fabled dark-haired woman.
We sip sangria out of blood bags and enjoy our pretense of being vampires. The bar is being handled by a surgeon in a bloodied uniform. He churns out interesting cocktails and mocktails, but I settle on a sweet wine as our group of diners get ushered in, one scream after another. That long-haired woman gets the best of us all.
The pitch-dark dining room awaits. I’ve heard so much about this concept. The idea stems from the school of thought that our opinion on food is ruled by our eyes. So when sight is blinded, the other sensory forces come to play.
We are ushered into the dining area by a waiter. He too is dressed like a mad surgeon, but he wears a pair of sci-fi infrared goggles that allow him to see in the dark. I hold on to his shoulder, and my husband holds on to mine and we march on in. It’s almost cute, like a trail of human trains we used to make as kids. Only here we are walking into darkness.
We are told to feel our table. A glass of water on the right, and the wine above it. Bread and butter to the left. And if you need anything (more water, more bread, an emergency visit to the loo or a panic attack), simply raise your hand.
A candle-lit dinner is the biggest cliché for a romantic night out, but a frightfully dark room has its perks too! I was reaching out to hold Hubby’s hand more, and we were actually talking instead of browsing on our phones. Overall, the ambiance was one of merriment. The darkness definitely heightens the sense of sound and speech, and it was getting rather noisy around the dining hall.
The real excitement came with every serving of food. I was surprised to find my cutlery skills were still going strong despite the visual impairment, and despite being quite a clutz in my everyday life I am proud to say that not a drop of wine or crumb of food was spilt.
Blinded from what we were eating, we relied more strongly than ever on our remaining senses. With the sense of touch, I gingerly passed my fingers over my plate. I forked up a spoonful and sniffed like a well-versed connoisseur. My palate was working overtime on trying to decipher the complex mix of flavors on my plate. I also found I was appreciating the texture of my food more. Every crumb was a work of well-thought-out art.
Halfway through my mains, I feel a hand gently caress my hair. It makes me jump. A dim spotlight glimmers before us, and a bloodied figure glowers at the crowd. A group of easily excited ladies whimper and scream. I for one am admiring their costumes.
Before we know it, our 90 minutes in the dark are done and our aide is back to guide us into the light.
But what did we eat? Did we get any of it right? Maybe only fragments of it. At the hall, the chef and his team unveiled the dishes we devoured in the dark.
The appetizer was a platter of mini starters. It featured a crispy puff pastry, a beetroot purée; a salmon tartare; and a breaded lamb kofta; all artistically enhanced with braised mandarin, blueberry-rambutan salsa and kiwi jelly.
For the main-course we had beef striploin that was elevated to fine-dining status with the conglomeration of ginger-pumpkin puree; sautéed Chinese cabbage; sautéed mushrooms; caramelized apples; caramelized hazelnuts; pomegranate; chestnut and veal jus.
Our dessert platter had us in awe with the mini RIP gravestones. How creepy to think we ate these in the dark, but what a satisfyingly delicious dish it was! The dessert platter included strawberry coulis, chocolate crumble, strawberry jelly worms, yoghurt-chili panna cotta, banana sponge, pumpkin mousse and in true Halloween spirit, a scoop of pumpkin-lemon ice-cream.
The haunted menu changes every week to keep diners guessing!
Overall, we really enjoyed our ‘dine in the dark’ experience, and the Halloween edit only added to the fun. I’ve been recommending this to everyone! So much more suave yet ‘scary’ than carving a pumpkin and dressing up like a ghoul don’t you think?
Priced at AED360 with soft beverages and AED399 with grape pairing per person, the haunted dining in the dark experience at Noire is available from 1st – 31st October 2019, Monday to Saturday and starts at 7:30pm sharp each night.
Dare to dine in the dark in a haunted hospital this Halloween? I survived and came out with a satiated grin with all the great food and drink! Book a table before they’re gone. Call +971  4 311 8316 or drop them an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on my IGTV post below for more glimpses of our hauntingly entertaining night at Noire: