CUISINE / RESTAURANT REVIEWS Kitsilano Vancouver West Coast

An epiphany at Dark Table: Sometimes, things are just clearer in the dark…

This man never ceases to amaze me…after the shenanigans from our anniversary, I didn’t think he could surprise me again for my birthday…I mean…sure you can take me to a secret location again, but it’s just gonna be the same old food, same old experience right??

But, I repeat, this man never ceases to amaze me.

I was basically instructed to wear whatever, don’t need to dress up, and don’t wear perfume.  After we’re arrived to the vicinity of the restaurant, I still had absolutely NO idea where we’re going.  Luckily for him I had no idea this restaurant has recently opened in Vancouver.  As recent as September actually.

It also doesn’t help that they’ve managed to cover most of the restaurant front with tree branches and shrubbery.  So what is this place?  It’s Dark Table.

Dark Table exterior

Dark Table sign

I immediately gave a gasp when we walked up the stairs.  When I saw the braille design outside, it dawned on me that it IS the dining experience I’ve only heard of.  My suspicions were confirmed when we stepped inside and it was pretty frickin’ dark.  And that was just the foyer.

What happens afterwards, is we meet with our attentive server for the rest of the night, who gives us a little explanation on what’s going to happen.  We were told there would be no obstacles aside from tables, no stairs, steps, or beams to run into.  For now though, all we had to do was form a single file line behind her, and place our left hand on the shoulder of the person in front.  This would get very interesting if say there were 15 of us…

Then, we go behind a curtain and our adventure begins.  Boy was it dark.

Dark Table: pitch dark interior
Restaurant interior

When we arrived at our (dark) table, to put us at ease, Rose places our hands on the back of our chairs, tells us the shape of the table, and what utensils are on the table and where.

Now if you haven’t read before about how this works as far as ordering goes, you’re supposed to order while in the foyer where there is still light.  But for us, Hitman has already instructed them that we want to be surprised.  What that means is everything we ate that night was off-menu. 🙂

Anytime food comes along, Rose will tell us to raise our hands to accept it from her.  It goes without saying that you should use slow, controlled movements every time.

There was bread to start and it came in a big piece for each of us.  To say the least it was quite messy, but in a fun way.  Although a knife was available, I basically used my fingers to put butter on the bread.  It didn’t help that the butter was chilled so it was difficult to have it stay on the knife…and the bread.  The bread was really yummy though.  A nice crusty crunch on the outside that wasn’t too hard, and soft and chewy inside.  It made sense to have came in a big piece.

I really hope they clean the tables well because there were many instances where I picked food off the table and then ate it -_-”

Dark Table: Surprise Appetizer
Surprise Appetizer

First the starter.  As you can imagine all we could depend on was our sense of smell and taste…and also touch.  When it arrived I could smell something sour-ish, and since it was cold we were pretty certain it was a salad.  Roasted peppers, probably portabello mushrooms, on a bed of greens…some felt like frisée because of its thin, slightly crunchy tendrils..there’s very likely lettuce in the mix too ;P

The peppers and mushrooms were wonderful.  I love the taste of mushrooms, in big meaty pieces too!  The dressing was a bit too tart for my liking though.  There is also shavings of a pungent cheese…Hitman thought it was blue cheese at first, but after discussing that blue cheese is usually crumbled, not shaved, we think it’s asiago.

pitch dark
Surprise Entree

Next came the main.  It smelt like a wonderful peppercorn sauce.  Rose tells us that the meat is already cut into bite-sized pieces.

My first few bites were what I thought to be squashes and pumpkin.  Hitman got some beets and potatoes.  I also tasted something coco-nutty, as if it was cooked in a curry sauce.

After a few bites of empty forkfuls, I finally got some meat.  It was  a mild flavored meat much like pork or chicken breast…texture reminds me more of pork.  There was a tasty, garlicky crunchy crust to it though.  Hitman at first thought it must be roasted pork belly.  But I thought it wasn’t fatty enough, plus the meat wasn’t in strands.  Hitman then asked if I thought it was breaded meat.  I commented how it’s almost schnitzel-like, because of the crust.  The meat was juicy and tender.  No peppercorn sauce here though.  Wise choice on Dark Table’s part, since anything saucy would be difficult and messy to eat in the dark.

pitch dark
Surprise Dessert

Lastly came dessert time.  While feeling for the spoon that’s on the plate, I felt cake.  I used my sense of touch a great deal here…as the chocolate pearls on top of the cake kept falling off so I had to pick them up with my fingers =D.  It was a soft, semi-dry orange flavored layer cake.  We believe it to be white cake.  It was not overly sweet and just lightly citrusy, nothing overpowering.  Even though it wasn’t a large portion is was more than enough to satisfy.  Hitman finished it in 3 bites.

The experience at Dark Table was truly a very intriguing and memorable one.  I’m not gonna comment on how you have to use your other senses to truly taste the food as that’s a given.  What I got from this experience is how it truly shows whether the conversation with your companion continues even without the normal distractions you get with sight.  I mean, sure there’s a lot to talk about about the experience itself at the time, but there just aren’t things for you to look around for as conversation pieces when it does stall.  Luckily we passed the test.  We couldn’t see anything but we knew that both of us were smiling through the whole meal.  Couldn’t see him but I could truly feel the thoughtfulness of this man, always trying to impress me and give me new experiences.

Or maybe in the end it was just that he got tired of always seeing me.

In the end we got to find out what we ate:

Appetizer: Kale salad with grilled veggies and Portobello Mushrooms

Main: Chicken Kiev with Roasted Turnip, Beets and Carrots

Dessert: Blood Orange Mousse Cake

Dark Table Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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