Home CommentaryStudent Life Awaken your taste buds in the darkness at O.NOIR

Awaken your taste buds in the darkness at O.NOIR

by The Concordian October 4, 2011
Montreal is recognized across the world for its diverse cultures, amazing nightlife and not to mention exquisite dining. It is this that convinced restaurant owner Moe Alameddine to bring O.NOIR to Montreal.
Keeping originality is difficult when opening a restaurant in the heart of downtown Montreal since there is so much variety. It is an area that holds hundreds of restaurants with many types of decor and culture. O.NOIR doesn’t have that problem. Their unique concept has turned heads and dazzled people internationally.
What concept you may ask? A three course gourmet meal in complete darkness.
“We try to make the customer feel the experience of what it is to be blind,” said restaurant head manager Alejandro Martinez. “You are doing the whole restaurant experience without your primary sense. It’s quite something.”
Needless to say, I was extremely excited to get this unique dining experience started. I sat in a dimly lit area as I waited to be seated. This is where I ordered my food and drinks. Looking at a menu in the dining room would have been quite a feat because, you know, the lighting’s a little bad in there. Before I knew it, it was my turn to be led into the darkness.
I gingerly touched my waiter’s shoulder as he led us into the dark haze of O.NOIR’s main dining room. It was as if my eyes were completely shut – I was blind. A rush of fear rose in the pit of my stomach when I realized my sense of sight was completely gone.
As I sat down and fumbled with my cutlery, I calmed down. I touched my surroundings and tried to make out where I was. I could touch. I became aware of the noise around me. People were talking, knives were clinking against forks, chairs were moving and waiters were shouting. I could hear. The smells of exquisite meals being served all around engulfed me. I could smell. My senses had been heightened to an unrealistic level.
“Some say your senses are heightened, but you do this manually. You put more attention on smaller things,” laughed Alejandro. “You may even eat your meal with your hands at times, just to feel what you’re eating.”
Yes, the concept is great, but equally exceptional is the food. Let’s be honest – a restaurant can’t make it on an idea alone. It needs a reputation of fine wines and delicious meals and the smells and tastes I experienced at O.NOIR were nothing short of that. The food, though a small selection, was simple and cooked to perfection. The filet mignon was finger licking good, literally, because, at times, you do eat with your fingers.
To make O.NOIR’s experience even more exciting, every single waiter in the restaurant is blind. The visually impaired in Quebec face a 70 per cent unemployment rate. It’s great to see an organization like O.NOIR that trains and offers jobs, as well as donates five per cent of its profits towards organizations helping visually impaired people of all ages.
There’s nothing bad to say about this unique restaurant. Smart concept, delicious food, and an amazing staff are what make O.NOIR unforgettable. But what makes this restaurant worth trying is that it’s not just a restaurant but also an organization. They don’t just give, but more importantly, they raise awareness.
As owner Moe Alameddine puts it, “we get to do something we love, while making a difference.”

Related Articles

Leave a Comment