Top photo credit: Ratko Kaucic
Finally, there's a fine-dining restaurant where you don’t need to dress up fancy, cut everything into bite sized pieces to prevent your lipstick from smudging, or cross your legs for hours only to be awarded with pins and needles. Alchemy in the Dark introduces Hong Kong's first pitch-dark eating experience. We decided it would be an eye-opening (yes, I went there) experience to eat in the dark on Valentines day.
Upon stepping in, we were engulfed in a nineteenth century vibe, with glass bottles on shelved displays, candles lighting up the corridor and dark, heavy wooden furniture extending across the waiting area. We were greeted warmly and were instructed to wash our hands and voice our allergy/food preferences. After the short but necessary briefing, we were led step-by-step downstairs into the darkness. We were first led to a room to drop off our belongings and anything that could reflect light. Along the way into the restaurant itself, we were guided by a visually impaired staff member who was super attentive to all our needs, making sure we were comfortable adjusting to the darkness. And before you could realise it, there it was, pitch darkness awaiting us.
Once seated, we were giddy with excitement and were feeling up and down the tables, utensils, cups, tissue, grooves – basically everything. Our server came back promptly and offered us each a bottle of water and a plastic cup, giving us guidance on how to avoid overfilling and positions to place the cups in. As our dishes arrived, the server would tell us what to take note of, how many pieces were on the plate but never revealing what was on the plate. We started from left and munched our way to the right, discussing and unravelling how sophisticated (or so we thought) our taste buds were. We felt everything before placing it in our mouths (thus the thorough hand washing prior!), took small bites first to test the waters, then took big big mouthfuls because the food was just that good. Really, it was a good thing no one could see.
Roasted Chicken & Sea Scallop with lotus crisp & XO sauce
After two hours of finger eating and licking - we were guided by our server to the end of the staircase. After walking up, we were greeted by the owner who explained to us what we had eaten and showed us photos of the food - can I just say I was quite far off!
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Valrhona praline & salted butter cake
Alchemy in the Dark offers 3, 4 or 5 course meals and the price varies depending on the number of courses, ranging from 500-700 per head. Wine and champagne can be added on request. The restaurant itself is rather small, and you can probably eavesdrop on other tables (but hey, they wont know!). Although, it can be a tad intrusive when those (ahem) with butter fingers slip and spill their food, but it was a good laugh for us. Ultimately, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as we took the time to experience the food together by feeding each other to figure out if we were tasting the same things. The whole experience was surprisingly romantic and liberating, never would we have displayed so much public affection in daylight. Together, we discovered new flavours and textures, that we had never really paid attention to - and I couldn't have ask for a more wonderful and sensory enticing dinner.
16 Arbuthnot Rd; 6821 2801