This unique dining experience in Dubai will tickle your fancy!

I remember reading about this unique dining experience in Dubai a couple of years ago and thinking to myself - it sounds really adventurous! For someone who loves to experiment in general and more specifically with her taste buds, Noire Dining in the Dark sounded to me like the perfect way to not only try a unique epicurean concept but also put my discerning palate to a real test! This unique dining experience in Dubai is meant for those who're not only looking to indulge in some world-class international food in an exceptional destination but are also inclined to explore the unconventional and novel.

The purpose-built restaurant offers, as the name suggests, the exclusive opportunity for guests to dine in pitch darkness, while the staff wearing night-vision goggles serves them a three-course meal with paired beverages. The most exciting part is that you're completely unaware of the food you're being served until the end, when the chef asks you to guess and eventually unveils the dishes, with an explanation of the fine ingredients that were used. The popular belief is that when one sense (that of the sight) of our body is restricted, the others (here, that of taste and smell) are enhanced, allowing one to savour the flavours even more with the heightened senses.

The experience lasts for about 1.5 hours.

Noire Dining in the Dark - How to get there

Located in Fairmont Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road, Noire Dining in the Dark is very easy to get to. The Sheikh Zayed highway (E11) is in the heart of the city and is accessible by both metro and taxi. Uber and Careem are popular apps that'll provide comfortable and convenient rides to the hotel from anywhere in the city.

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View from Fairmont Dubai's poolside lounge

There is only one session in a day and that's at 7.30 pm. The seating capacity is for about 40 people in a room and though you can walk-in and expect to find availability most of the time, it's probably more sensible to make a reservation in advance in order for the team to be best prepared with your dietary requirements and restrictions.

Click here to make a reservation.

The experience

The experience starts sharp at 7.30pm (if you happen to reach before time, you're likely to find the doors shut so don't even bother!) at the poolside lounge of Fairmont Dubai's 9th-floor open deck. The view from the deck is breathtaking, with Dubai's skyline standing proud and tall in the backdrop. Here, you're served with a welcome drink while you have the chance to meet your fellow-diners, chat with your drinks mixologist and try to guess the ingredients of your concoction.

You're then briefed about the do's and don'ts, which include not using any source of light such as mobile phones or flashlights once you're inside the dining room. During my visit, one annoying guest did happen to switch on his mobile phone, flooding the entire room with light for a few seconds, making me wonder why people are unable to follow instructions for the sake of having a great, uninterrupted experience. Once you've been briefed, the staff wearing night-vision goggles guides you to the room, which is unexpectedly really pitch black! I expected that my eyes would soon get used to the darkness and begin to figure out the silhouettes but throughout the 1 hour inside the room, this never happened!

Once you're seated, a staff member will talk you through the setting of your table, allowing you to slowly feel with your fingers, the placement of water, the glass for your beverage, the cutlery and the tissues. This is when you're served your first course!

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What I realised was that I found it very hard to be able to guess the dishes I was eating. The soft and delicately prepared meat could have as easily been chicken as it could have been salmon and that's when it became clear to me - much of our taste is highly dependent on what we see! My gustatory nerves were being put to the ultimate test and it seemed like I was failing.

I knew I was being served delightful culinary creations but I had no idea what they were. I couldn't wait to ask the chef at the end of the meal if I was anywhere close to being right with my guesses. The staff was kind enough to check in regularly to see if everything was fine on the table and if we were enjoying our experience. After every course, we were served a palate cleanser, the paired beverages were re-filled to our desires and the portions were reasonable.

Hearing people whisper about what they thought they were eating was quite entertaining, everyone was clearly intrigued. I was caught off-guard but laughed when the waiter unexpected dropped a warm towel on my arm, after cleaning up our table. What was even funnier was the loud squeal from the table next to ours, where the woman was clearly disgruntled about not being warned about the towel in advance. After we finished our meals, we were led back outside to the world of light, a welcome relief after a 'dark' yet exciting experience.

Once outside, the chef enlightened us to the dishes that were served and most people were pleasantly surprised at their inability to rightly guess what they had eaten. The food was delectable, the service was impeccable and the overall experience was amusing!

To end the night, we were served delicious chocolate cake by the pool and had the opportunity to try on the night vision goggles ourselves and visit our dining table in the darkroom, to see the mess we had created while eating! I was so happy to see we had left a clean table.

Read here about why you should experience the Palm Inner Circle Cruise.

Why you should go

This unique dining experience in Dubai is something worth trying out at least once for culinary enthusiasts. Noire- Dining in the Dark does not compromise with the quality of the food while trying to provide an intriguing and fun-filled gastronomical concept. Although the initial few minutes might feel a little disconcerting because you're completely blinded in the darkness, one tends to settle comfortably and begin to enjoy the peculiarity of the whole idea eventually. It is an adventurous epicurean journey worth indulging in, at a price of $100 per person, which might seem a little steep but we all know, anything that's unconventional and exclusive in Dubai is unlikely to come cheap.

unique dining experience in Dubai
PC: Fairmont Dubai

Although I was invited by Noire- Dining in the Dark for this experience, the opinions expressed in the post are entirely my own and completely unbiased.  

55 thoughts on “This unique dining experience in Dubai will tickle your fancy!”

  1. We did a dining in the dark experience once. It was quite unusual. Our meal was quite simple so it may have been less strange with quite familiar food. Great that it was offered by the Fairmont Dubai. How fun to see if you guessed the right food you ate.

  2. I’ve never heard of this experience before, and would love to try it. But even though I pride myself on my ability to correctly detect ingredients in many dishes that I try, I suspect it’d be a lot more difficult in the dark! The visuals are so important – I remember trying a ‘blue’ minestrone soup once (food dye had been used) and it tasted so different to what I expected, totally due to the unreal colour. One day I’ll try the darkness experiment too 😀

  3. What an experience and one that again makes me think what’s next in Dubai. It’s a city that always comes up with something so different and interesting. I would live to visit Noire on my next trip to Dubai. The prices look a bit steep but then it’s a different experience and in Fairmont after all. Really sad to hear that some idiot did not follow the brief and did switch on the phone and break the darkness for a few seconds. The food was great as well which is great to know.

  4. I wanted to try this many, many years ago in NYC. I’m happy to see that there are other restaurants around the world that have gravitated towards this unique phenomenon. As a major foodie, I hope that I would be able to distinguish a few dishes! But I can imagine that is incredibly difficult, as you mentioned! I definitely will look this restaurant up when I’m in the area to test our my culinary abilities!

  5. I’ve heard of this before and always been on the fence about it because I like to be able to see my food! I love the little lights they bring out to your table though so you’re not totally blind, and the quality of food sounds like it’s worth a go! The $100 price point is a bit steep but sounds like it’s well worth it for the unique experience.

  6. A similar experience opened a couple years back in Chennai, and unfortunately I still haven’t had the chance to visit it. I can’t still seem to even imagine how would it feel like to sit in the dark and eat with all your other senses elevated. Quite an amusing experience, isn’t it? I agree, we do depend a lot on our eyes even when it comes to food!
    Noire is located at 9th floor floor beside the pool? Wow! The view is indeed impeccable. Quite an irony to enjoy such a splendid view before heading into pitch darkness for food. Haha!
    Were the plates and glasses, really made of china and glass? I’d be more worried of hitting the glass off the table!

    1. Yes, the plates were made of China and the glasses were of glass but not the delicate kinds, they were quite sturdy, given that they know it’s a possibility people will knock stuff off. I did not know that Chennai has a similar dining experience, that’s really cool!

  7. I have never heard of this kind of experience before reading your article. It feels so fascinating. I am going to add this place in my bucket list. Just waiting for my next trip.

  8. This is something I would love to experience for myself one day! Thanks for sharing this great experience you had with such great detail and pricing!

  9. Such a cool and unique experience! We have such a restaurant in the neighbor city where I live and it´s always booked out! So far I haven´t managed to get a table reservation! I would love to try it! Also in a Dubaian version! I could imagine the different style of food will be even more exciting!

  10. I loved reading your account of this experience; it reads just like a story! In my own blogging, I rely pretty heavily on pictures to support my writing, and you’ve done a great job of bringing this dining experience to life without the ability to take shots of what you ate. It sounds like they really took a lot of care to make sure the experience was both fun yet luxurious, like giving you a welcome drink and letting you try the night goggles afterwards. Glad you had a great time!

    1. Thank you, Kevin. It is hard to express without pictures but there really wasn’t much choice 😉

  11. This certainly is a unique concept and would be a tonne of fun with a group of friends. It is true that when we lose one of our senses the others are heightened so this would definitely allow you to appreciate the food a lot more.

  12. I’ve never seen a review of this new concept before, it makes me something very sophisticated to focus on the flavor of the food, while you forget the visual, here does not matter the appearance, only the taste! is impressive!

  13. wow sounds AMAZING, considering that almost all the restaurants and hotels with restaurants in the city are super-lit and luxurious, how would you like to experience it? I would love to visit it, is there any advice you can give me before visiting Dubai?


    1. Hello Allisson, I live here so I can tell you loads! I have written a few posts on my blog about what to know before you visit the UAE, things to do. Feel free to go through them and send me any questions you may have, I’d be happy to connect!

  14. I have seen advertisements for this dining concept but have never read anyone’s experience about it. The Masterchef Australia participants always have issues identifying mystery ingredients so you are in good company. I may try this when my brother visits in December!

  15. Unique experience! Reminds me of the guess the dish blindfolded I had with Google team. 🙂 A whole meal blindfolded sounds really exciting. I hope I can experience some day.

  16. I’ve always thought this sounded like a cool thing to do! I imagine it would be very difficult to identify everything you are eating. I’ve watched chefs do blind tastings like this and even they can’t get a lot of it right!

  17. We have tried dining in the dark once. It was interesting. But the food we had was just ok. I understand your saying that it was hard to know what you were eating without the visual clues. How great to finish your evening with chocolate cake by the pool.

  18. I’m totally sold on the entire experience, it is so unique and fun. Being foodie myself, this would be a delightful experience, tasting all the delicious dishes and putting yourself to test on guessing what it is. However, I do hope they have options for vegetarians like me. Definitely a must try while in Dubai.

    1. They absolutely do! You just gotta let them know beforehand that you’re vegetarian and they’ll serve the dishes accordingly.

  19. What a lovely experience. It kind of reminds me of the blind-fold dinner that was organized by one of the resorts in India. You fumble around to figure what is put in front of you and let your tongue take over. Loved it. and I can see that I would love this one too.

  20. What a unique experience Medha! Not sure if I would feel totally comfortable, but hey, it’s something to try at least once! Plus, it must be great fun trying to guess the ingredients in the plate 😀

  21. It is indeed an unusual experience! It is funny to guess what the food is. The chef must be good enough to provide food fitting such scene. Did you finally know what you were eating?

  22. What an interesting idea! I might actually enjoy such an experience. Leaving your eyes out of the equation and only your taste buds do the judging. I wouldn’t care to see what I’m eating as long as my palate agrees to it! Good fun 🙂

    1. I am happy to experiment too when it comes to food. That’s why I found this experience quite exciting.

  23. What an experience! I have heard about it but now I’m glad to read about your experience. I am not so sure I would be brave enough to try it. I am happy you did it and liked it. Dubai however I would want to visit.

  24. The idea sounds intriguing, but I’m not sure I would enjoy not being able to see my food. The mess would be alarming too, I’m sure. I would knock things over and drop food. But it certainly is something to consider doing.

  25. Now that is a fun experience I would love to try. Luckily for us you have warned us about the hot towel at the end of the meal. Dining in the dark – who would have ever thought that you could do it. Next time we visit Dubai I am definitely booking it.

  26. Hmmm…. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed eating in total darkness without knowing what I’m putting in my mouth. This sounds like a real bravery to me, Medha. It was however a very unique experience and you seem to have no complains about the taste of the food, which is good. I’d love to visit Dubay. That view from the Fairmont Dubai’s poolside lounge is astonishing!

  27. I have always had a sensory deprivation dinner on my bucket list but the few I had known about actually closed. So I am so happy that you found one in Dubai and I just literally updated the item to add dinner at Noire Dining in the Dark.
    I personally love the idea of eating in complete darkness to see if the other senses heighten. Plus how fun would it be to hear all the other comments from nearby tables. I am sure you heard some funny stuff.
    Also, how cool is it that they let you put on the goggles and go back into the restaurant to see what kind of disaster you made. This is so much fun!

  28. How wonderful to read about dining in the dark. It’s something I really want to try. In fact, I had the opportunity to recently, but I declined. From the looks of it (no pun intended) it sounds like I made the wrong decision. It’s a fascinating link between what we see and what we taste. Great post.

  29. I’ve read so many good things about the dining options in Dubai that I really need to exit the airport the next time I’m passing through! We’ve dining in the dark in London, but honestly, I’m not brave enough to try it! It does sound like you had a fab experience, and a tasty meal too!

  30. I’ve always been curious about this! I love food and think the heightened experience of not being to see what you eat would be exciting! Thanks for sharing!

  31. This experience sounds amazing. I have been to a dine in the dark but not as well organised as this one. I think having that adrenaline rush on what your food might be before putting it in your mouth is so good. That warm towel would have freaked me too. The meal sounds like a good value and the fact the chef came out and explained it all at the end is even better

    1. A friend of mine joked that it reminded him of the olden days back home in India, when the electricity issues, at times, forced us to have meals in the dark, before the generators became common in homes. Haha.

  32. What an experience! That sounds so fun and like a little adventure. I think the realization of how much sight affects our taste is so interesting! I’ve never eaten anything without being able to see it, so that’s something I’d never even thought about.

    1. I was under the impression that I’m quite good with figuring out the flavours and ingredients, the foodie that I am. I was mistaken!

  33. This dining experience sounds really interesting and a bonus would be that you aren’t subjected to everyone photographing their food from 1000 angles haha! I really enjoy trying to guess different flavors and spices used when dining out, so this would be a neat experience for me. Are you able to read the menu beforehand in light? Or is the meal a complete surprise?

    1. Haha I never thought about it that way but you have a point, no one is photographing their meals and that’s refreshing! You do not have any idea of the menu beforehand, they just ask you about your dietary preferences and restrictions to make sure you don’t get served something you don’t/ can’t eat! The meal is a total surprise.

  34. I both love the idea of doing an experience that makes me question just how well I know food and flavors but I’d also be a little scared – what if the dish was something I didn’t like or was freaked out by? I think I’d need to start with an all-dessert version of this but it’s so cool that you did the whole thing with such an open mind.

    1. That’s why, you need to be a little adventurous when it comes to food, to try this experience 😉 Worst case, if you don’t like the taste of something, you can choose not to eat or return the dish! They do ask your dietary preferences and requirements before so that they don’t serve you something you don’t like to eat or are allergic to!

  35. I’ve always wanted to try this (but also been a little scared to)! Thank you for sharing the experience 🙂 I may be going to Dubai later in the year, and will definitely add this to my list!

    1. It’s a concept you can try in other places as well. It’s done really well in Dubai though, hope you make it to Noire next time you’re in the city, it’s fun!

  36. I love the view from the deck, that’s a bonus, I guess.
    Sounds interesting. It sure is not just about the food, but about the whole experience of dining in the dark, right. Not really surprised that you can do this in Dubai.
    Thanks for the suggestion, I might try it when traveling to the city again. And I’ll make sure to watch for that warm towel drop. 🙂

    1. Haha, maybe I should’ve let people be startled by it 😉 Hope you try it when you’re in Dubai next time!

  37. Detailed and comprehensive information about Dubai.
    She has tempted & convinced me for a visit.

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