The Five Senses

I previously mentioned that eating was a sensory experience, however, there are some restaurants which actively campaign against this. They try to make the philosophy of their establishment about taste and not about the social experience that is a meal.

Dans Le Noir? serves food in a pitch-black room. Another serves food dyed in blue! By concealing the presentation of food, dining becomes a process whereby only taste and smell matter.

The theory behind these gimmicks is that by denying yourself of the sense of sight you highten the sense of taste and smell. Whether this works or serves mainly to attract customers I am not sure.

What I am sure about is that unless I am going to be treated to an absolutely divine, heaven made meal by the most talented chef there is no point to all this fuss. Food must fill your eyes before your belly, therefore colour and presentation are necessary to attract you to a particular choice.

Watching a sizzling clay dish of prawns pil pil come rushing from a kitchen and being placed in the centre of your table alongside a basket of crunchy bread is visually dramatic. As is the sizzle itself.

But what is just as important is the subtle silence that ensues as our eyes digest what has arrived and our mouths start to salivate.

As both bread and fork stab the dish, conversation resumes. Invariably, this is violently breached as everyone burns themselves on the bubbling oil from the dish!

Seen, heard, smelled, touched and finally tasted (albeit minus a few taste buds). The five senses have worked as one; a tour de force to provide a comforting, friendly and indulgent moment certainly worth repeating.

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