Dans Le Noir?

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Well first of all apologies for the lack of posting this week. I have started a new job and been full of cold so the evenings have been spent eating chocolate feeling sorry for myself. Normal service to resume from now on!

Alphabet dating continued this weekend and it was my turn to choose the ‘D’ date. I went for a restaurant I’d heard about called Dans Le Noir.  It is no ordinary restaurant and fits in with ‘D’ perfectly as you ‘dine in the dark’, and dark means dark! It is totally pitch black and you cannot see your hand in front of your face. The waiting staff are all blind or partially sighted and in a role reversal guide you through the experience.

You have a seat in the bar where you choose out of 4 menus, Vegetarian, fish, meat or ‘surprise’. We went for the surprise with a cocktail. Our guide and waitress Winnie (who was amazing) then came and met us and brought us into the restaurant. To find your table you have to put your hand on her shoulder and she guides you to your table. It is definitely a nerve wracking as you genuinely can not see a thing, but once you are sat down, although your eyes do not adjust you definitely do and I felt very relaxed. We shared a table with another couple that were half way through their meal. This added to the experience as we really enjoyed the conversation and it is fun to chat to people having no idea what they look like!

I’m not going to describe the food into much detail as it will ruin the surprise for anyone planning on visiting the restaurant but it was all lovely, with some unusual surprises. It is however a massive challenge to eat! I tried my best with the cutlery but used my hands more, and even that was difficult!

At the end of the meal you are guided out of the restaurant and back to the ‘lit lounge’ were you are shown pictures of the meal you just had. I think we guessed about 40% of the meal correctly (the pudding and cocktail are by far the easiest to guess). We then had coffees in the lounge and both agreed we had a fantastic time. I was massively surprised at how much I enjoyed the experience as I thought it would be interesting but not something I would like to repeat, however I would definitely go back again!

Dans Le Noir gets 4 Fletchie stars ****

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Canvas by Michael Riemenschneider

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Alphabet dating continued last night and it was Neils turn to pick the ‘C’ date. I was told to dress smart/casual and we headed to London. A short walk from Oxford street and we arrived at Canvas by Michael Riemenschmeider. It is a newly opened restaurant (January this year), which has already received rave reviews for the excellent food and interesting take on a tasting menu. The idea is you can pick your own tasting menu, the number of courses and the dishes.  We went for the 7 course menu for £70 per person. You are spoilt for choice with the menu, so it took us a while to decide but in the end we went for the following dishes (Apologies for the picture quality – or lack of it!).

Amuse Bouche – Cheese muffin with smoked bacon and warm brussel sprout soup with parmesan foam.

The muffin was amazing! (I am going to try and make similar myself) and the brussel sprout soup tasted better than it sounds!

Cheese muffin with smoked bacon.

Cheese muffin with smoked bacon.

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Brussel sprout with parmesan foam.

Scallop with cucumber – Horseradish & Yogurt – radish

I have never tried raw scallops before so I was a little concerned I would find them overpowering when they came out cold. I thought they tasted lovely though and worked well with the pickled cucumber and horseradish.

Scallops with cucumber, horseradish, yogurt and radish.

Scallops with cucumber, horseradish, yogurt and radish.

Langoustine with pearl barley, veal and jus crustace.

This was my favourite dish. The pearl barley with veal had an amazing earthy flavour, which complemented the langoustine perfectly. The picture does it not justice at all it was incredible!

Langoustine with pearl barley, veal and jus crustace.

Langoustine with pearl barley, veal and jus crustace.

Cod with lentils, pancetta and spatzle.

This was a contender for Neils favourite dish! The cod was great and the lentils and bacon complemented it with a subtle salty taste.

Cod with lentils, pancetta and spatzle.

Cod with lentils, pancetta and spatzle.

Pork hock and belly with apple and cider.

Although this was maybe the least attractive of the dishes (the belly does look a bit like a fish finger) it was by no means the least tasty. The pork was tender and very flavoursome.

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Pork, hock and belly with apple and cider.

Beef with carrots and pomme puree.

Top quality ingredients prepared to perfection.

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Beef with carrots and pomme puree.

 Pre dessert – mandarin and red pepper mousse.

This is the only part of the menu that didn’t work for me. The slightly bitter red pepper mousse totally overpowered the mandarin mousse, which was a lot more pleasant to taste.

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Pre dessert – mandarin and red pepper mousse.

Lemon with caramel, cream and olive oil.

Light, fresh and gorgeous.

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Lemon with caramel, cream and olive oil.

Chocolate 7 ways with pineapple and coconut.

I loved this but Neil found it a bit rich. Definitely one for the more hardcore chocolate fans!

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Chocolate 7 ways with pineapple and coconut.

Petit fours.

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Petit fours.

I would definitely recommend this restaurant! The food was excellent and the portions were a perfect size so you could enjoy the full menu. There is a nice cosy ambience and the staff are friendly and attentive. I will definitely be visiting again!

Canvas gets 4 Fletchie stars ****