A couple of weeks ago, I was invited by LivingSocial to attend one of their many interesting dinner functions. This time, it was a unique experience to dine on a 6 course fine dining menu, while blindfolded!!!
Although there is a Dining in the Dark restaurant in Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL, which I haven’t tried, I was intrigued by this blindfold dining experience. I RSVP-ed quite late but was thankful that LivingSocial still allowed me to come for the event.
The event was certainly a unique one. The deal info was available on LivingSocial‘s website HERE (expired deal now, of course). Unlike “Dining in the Dark” concept where the whole room is pitch black, this one is different where it’s a pure blindfolded experience. The description on the invite and the webpage gave me a rough idea of what to expect:-
- Mysteriously exciting 6-course fine dining experience
- Assistance by experienced waitstaff throughout the dining session
- Serves multi-course mystery menus, with preference of chicken, seafood or vegetarian fare.
- Personal chauffeur-driven return trip service by Uber KL
Essentially, before I enter the dining area, I would be blindfolded at the door, led to my table, briefed on where my cutleries and drinks are on the table, tried to jab at food on the plate in front of me, and savour the meal with your taste bud without knowing exactly what it is.
For more information on similar activities and deals, check out the LivingSocial website at http://www.livingsocial.com or follow LivingSocial Malaysia Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LivingSocialMY or Living Social Malaysia’s Twitter at https://twitter.com/LivingSocial_MY
Uber KL ride
The event was held at Elizabeth Fine Dining at Grand Shanghai in Setia Walk, Puchong. Definitely not a place I know of the location. I was thankful that the whole experience comes with an Uber ride to and from my destination.
Uber is a premium car app, like the ones of MyTeksi but with premium sedan cars like Mercedes, BMW, at the least, a Toyota Camry.
After work on a busy, rush hour traffic day of Friday, I ordered my Uber ride from the app, using the LivingSocial promo code that came bundled with the dinner.
Download the Uber app from Google Play Store here (for Android) or iOS App Store here (for iPhone). It’s a global app, that can be used for Uber rides in over 32 countries in the world. It searches with your GPS to find your location and nearby Uber cars.
As you can see from the screenshot above, they’re having a #Bangsar10 promotion, that just ended on 2 March 2014, where they offer 10 free Uber rides to and from Bangsar for new signups.
There’s no pre-booking required for an Uber ride. Once the app finds your location (or you can select where to be picked up), it shows you nearby Uber cars on the map and it’s estimated arrival time. You also get SMS notification, just in case your phone is out of mobile data coverage.
See, I got a nice BMW that came to pick me up to my location halfway around the other side of the city from KL City Centre to Puchong!
The traffic was bad, we got stuck in bumper-to-bumper standstill, and got there late. But it was still nice to be in a chaufeur driven sedan throughout the ordeal. *wink*
In normal scenarios, you enter your credit card details when you signup, and the whole Uber ride is a cashless transaction. Ride far is deducted off your credit card, and you don’t have to pay the driver anything.
Because my Uber ride was a part of this LivingSocial promo, the ride was FREE!
For more information on Uber KL, check out the Uber KL website at https://www.uber.com/cities/kuala-lumpur or follow them on Uber KL’s blog at http://blog.uber.com/kl or Uber KL Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/UberMY or Uber KL’s Twitter at https://twitter.com/Uber_KL
Elizabeth Fine Dining @ Grand Shanghai, Setia Walk, Puchong
It was my first time at Setia Walk in Puchong, which is a nice esplanade with a new mall that’s barely opened. The food court named Grand Shanghai is located at the 4th Floor of the mall.
It looks awesome, like old Shanghai with its old school Chinese lanes and decors. I really like this!
At the end of the old Shanghai replica street, we come to Elizabeth Fine Dining restaurant with it’s Old English facade that seems a little out of place in Shanghai decor. Banners were everywhere with LivingSocial branding, so we know we weren’t lost.
For more information, check out the Elizabeth Fine Dining Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.finedine
Blindfold Dining Experience
Adjusted my blindfold at the restaurant entrance and got ready to be led into the restaurant to our seat.
Because the whole objective of eating in blindfold is for you to savour and enjoy the pure taste of food in your mouth, with an added mystery. We didn’t get to see the menu ahead of the dinner. We were, however,a sked to choose our main course, chicken or fish. No idea how it’s cooked or any of the side dishes and sauce, just pick it and be open to be pleasantly surprised.
You should, of course, let them know if you have any food allergies prior to the start of the dinner. My friend, Shirley was allergic to prawns, which we didn’t get to tell the wait staff ahead because we were late. Fortunately though, I discovered it on my plate, and notified her before she stuffed one in her mouth.
The wait staff was apologetic. But it wasn’t their fault that we didn’t inform them ahead of time.
Note : From this point forward, all pictures are taken blindfolded. I have no idea what I’m aiming at, how the picture might turn out and if they were any good for the blogpost.
I got paranoid at one point if other people can see me blindfolded and struggling with eating the food in front of me, attempting badly to jab into any food I can on the plate, and aiming it at my mouth. But thankfully, everyone else in the dinner was also blindfolded like me. So, you won’t be embarrassed with the next table laughing at your terrible attempt at trying to eat your meal.
The waiter walks us through what’s on the table – where our cutleries were, and guided our hands to it. Then they served us our drinks and guided us (vocally) on how to find it on the table. You touch the edge of the table, feel your way to the middle and move your hand across the centre to find your glass.
Every time a dish is served, you’re told that your meal is served and reminded where your cutleries are.
If you need anything throughout the dinner, whether to go to the toilet, or ask for more water or drinks, you just have to raise your hands, and the waiter / guide will come to you.
That’s it! Then you attempt to eat…
I didn’t get to snap a picture of every dish served. There were 6 courses in total. I was hungry and forgot to snap some (blind) photos. I didn’t do too badly taking pictures in the blind, I must say. They weren’t that out of focus or out of frame. A little but not much.
It was a weird experience – I can smell the food. I took my fork and knife to try to feel the food on the plate. I don’t know what the plate looks like, where the food are placed, how it was cooked, the portion it was, etc. So many questions!
I took my fork and knife and started jabbing at my plate with the fork, or using the knife to spoon items to my fork and bring it to my mouth, hoping I got some food there. Many times, I placed an empty fork in my mouth. A couple of times, I smeared sauce all over my face and chin – especially so with the Caesar Salad dressing.
Even once, when I started eating my Roast Chicken main course, the waiter / guide next to our table had to inform me that my knife is upside down!
My friend, Shirley gave up almost after 5 seconds and started eating with the fork and her hand. This was smart of her because she managed to clean her plate for almost every single dish!
Side note : See! My blindfold picture taking was not bad!
Me, on the other hand, was not that thorough. I knew I had way too much leftovers on my plate. I just couldn’t confirm or know how much leftovers.
Until I look at my blind pictures after the dinner.
I did well to clean up the plate of food during Appetizers. I was really hungry then.
By the time we had our Main course of the Roast Chicken, I was quite stuffed already, and couldn’t get to all of my chicken. Shirley told me that there were zucchini and mushrooms on the dish. I found some of the diced zucchini (which I love) but for the life of me, can’t seem to locate the mushrooms!
Ahhh… Give up!
Yes, I attempted some selfies in between dishes. Hmmm… they didn’t quite worked out well. I only got out-of-focus forehead shots most of the time.
While I was trying to have a conversation with my friend, it felt really weird. It felt rude not to have any eye contact while talking to someone. Many a times, I had to check that she’s still there.
A few times, our waiter/guide was eavesdropping on our conversation as well. He answered us a few times, out of nowhere. Even with the occasional
creepy cheeky, evil whispers saying, “I’m always here…”
Throughout the meal, we truly got to enjoy our food with our taste buds, rather than our eyes. It was really good to be able to savour the food for what it is, the flavours and how it feels in our mouth. Truly an interesting and unique experience.
The food was good, too. Definitely worth the trip for the food, as well as the experience.
Throughout the dinner, they were asking some quick quizzes to get us to try to name what we just had – naming the ingredients we tasted in the dishes. We just had to raise our hands, and the emcee would come to us and we can answer. I didn’t participate, unfortunately, but some other guests were so fast in replying and won the freebies instead of me.
At the end of dinner, we were instructed by the emcee to remove our blindfold while still at the table. It took my eyes a few minutes to adjust to the bright lights.
Then, we got to see the full printed menu on the table, to let us know exactly what we had.
They even gave us some Hershey’s Kisses to take home from the experience.
LivingSocial took some polaroid pictures for us to keep. Here’s Shirley’s polaroid, with an “interesting” caption – Happy Wedding!!! Hahaha.
Now that all the guests have their sight back again, I took a look around my surrounding to get an idea of what I was feeling (the wall next to me) and who I was talking to (the diner seated at the next table).
Surprise – I didn’t know that we were seated next to Malaysian YouTube star, Joseph Germani when we striked up a conversation about our dessert.
Just before I left, as well, I managed to spot our creepy waiter / guide whom I recognised from the blind photos I’ve been taking throughout the dinner.
The whole dinner ended around 11pm -ish and it was a great experience for both me and Shirley. I can see from the faces of the other guests that it was an interesting experience for them, too.
Because Setia Walk, Puchong was such an interesting place, me and Shirley went downstairs along the water fountain feature restaurants, and had a glass of drinks for a night cap at Brussels German Bar before heading off.
Look at my cute, small half pint glass of Magners Cider!
Just before my phone ran out of batteries, I opened my Uber app and ordered ourselves a ride back home. This time, we got a giant Toyota Alphard (yup, the big MPV) for the 2 of us to go home. Didn’t have enough battery to take anymore screenshots then, but the driver was once again friendly and helpful even when he was a little lost on where we were waiting and how to get out of that area.
Thank you, Living Social Malaysia and Uber KL for the wonderful experience. Although it was not an experience that I would actively book for myself, but definitely something I wouldn’t mind trying again in future. Now that I know what to expect! Hehehe.
Tell me – have any of you ever tried dining in the dark, or blindfold dining, or anything adventurous like this? Would you be adventurous to try it? If not, why?