England: Dark thoughts in old London town

By Alan Perrott

Surrounded by darkness and with pudding laced fingers, Alan Perrott made a brave grab for the wine. Photo / Thinkstock
Surrounded by darkness and with pudding laced fingers, Alan Perrott made a brave grab for the wine. Photo / Thinkstock

It's my birthday and I'm in London. London, England.

Even flasher than that, the sun is out for the first time since we arrived and I'm being treated to a big night out on the town.

So, why am I sitting in the dark eating pudding with my fingers?

We're in a place called Dans Le Noir, a restaurant in charming Clerkenwell Green, where the spirit of the Blitz blackout is taken very seriously indeed.

Apparently dining in the dark is about challenging your senses, but I suspect it's a cost saving measure as everything felt like porridge and tasted of paper. Including the wine.

After eventually discovering that what I had thought was steak was actually duck, I now suspect my taste buds are in my eyes.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. There we were, sitting around our table - or bench, it was difficult to tell - swapping awkward stage whispers when ...

"and that was when I started to find my sister attractive ..." leaked from a posh guy beside me.

As I say, we were in a room full of people, but when you can't see your cutlery, let alone the hands holding them, raising an eyebrow is pointless.

And with everyone in the room now hanging on what came next, the idea of making any sound felt strangely exposing. The tension was too much. My puddinged fingers reached out for the wine bottle and, of course, knocked it over.

"Bucket," I said, or something like that - it was hard to tell the exact spelling what with it being really, really dark - which might have punchlined the poor bloke's story if he hadn't followed it up with a perfectly timed: "Do you think anyone heard me?"

Oh, good times. I couldn't wait to leave. So, it was goodbye to the in-laws and a tube ride to hip Soho.

- NZ Herald

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