Restaurant review: NOX - Dine In The Dark is back with a refreshed menu

PHOTO: Facebook/NoxDineInTheDark

We’re all familiar with the phrase ‘we eat with our eyes first’ (or in our social media age, it’s our phone cameras that get first bite). In the past seven years, Jesper Gustafsson’s NOX – Dine In The Dark has impressed guests with a sensory dining experience like no other – disconnecting us from both our sense of sight, and the hectic bustle of ordinary life.

Tucked away in a two-storey shophouse along Club Street, NOX’s latest space is nothing short of impressive. In its true luxe fashion, the restaurant boasts a bold exterior with a bold tones of black, gold accents, and sleek patio sitting area. As you open the grand wooden door, you’re greeted with a dimly lit first floor housing a classy bar, which doubles as a waiting room.

Expect smartly dressed stewards bringing you amuse-bouches like umami puree in miniature ice cream cones, along with an array of cocktails created by Sam Wong, a Diageo World Class finalist of Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall fame. The selection is palate-tickling with picks like Ignite My Passion, a sweet, sour and fruity cocktails that includes the element of fire.

Then there’s Please Burst My Bubble, a fruity and floral blend of gin and earl grey, where you have to pop the bubble set atop your drink with your nose! Looking for a more local flavour, we thoroughly enjoyed Coco-NOT which started off with a sweet green tea and pandan flavour and surprised with an aftertaste of smooth gin.

As we sipped on our pre-dinner cocktails, we found ourselves mesmerised by the enchanting RGB art mural, that revealed different visuals with every colour change. The red coloured lighting amused us with the world’s iconic landmarks such as The Colosseum, Statue of Liberty and The Leaning Tower of Pisa. On the other had the colour change to blue revealed oceanic creatures, whilst the green displayed an assortment of flora and fauna.

For the main event, our table was introduced to our visually-impaired host, who would take care of us for the evening. Our first set of instructions were to store away our bags and smartphones (and other digital devices like smart watches) in a locker, before we made our way upstairs.

As we ascend the stairs, we were asked to hold onto each other’s shoulders as the host led us to our table – in pitch black darkness. At first, the feeling of claustrophobia takes over, with darkness so deep that it presses on the eyes. Let’s just say they weren’t kidding when they said dining in the dark.

As you hope for eyes to adjust (spoiler alert, they do not), the only light you find your eyes fixating on are the circular red rings of the surveillance cameras overhead.

If you are opting for the accompanying cocktail flights (from $50++), you are first served with a selection of three cocktails boasting floral, fruity and strong alcohol flavours. As you’re handed the drinks, a comedic reaction is expected as you struggle to locate your straw or the mouth of the glass.

Without your phones to shove your face into, you notice a natural flow of conversation picking up between you and your tablemates. Just as the conversation gets interesting, dinner is served. The tasting menu (from $88++) features three courses with 12 modern European dishes – four appetisers, four mains, and four deserts.

Let your senses take over as you taste, smell and truly take in the mouthfeel of the likes of garden salad with vinaigrette, duck rillette with cranberry sauce, lamb, and apple strudel. A small portioned meal that left us fully satisfied.

Overall, the experience was a unique and funny one, with unexpected dishes that put our palate to the test. In fact, it reminded us of the ‘Blind Taste Test’ game played in Gordon Ramsay’s Hells Kitchen.

When we finally step into the light once more, the team reveals what went into our dishes, with some that caught us by surprise! What truly stood out to us was how disconnected we were from the outside world and the distraction of our smartphones. Instead we found ourselves living in the moment, creating conversations and giggling throughout our meal.

NOX – Dine In The Dark is located at 83 Club St, Singapore 069451. Open Tues-Sun 6pm till late. 

ALSO READ: Restaurant review: Milano Pizza & Wine puts a fresh take on neo-Neopolitan and Sicilian grandma pizzas at Craig Road