Exciting, exhilarating and one-of-a-kind. These are the words I can use to describe my experience at Dine in the Dark at the Tribe hotel. The idea of being in a pitch black room as you eat is a very weird notion for anybody who is sighted. If you are anything like me, then you rely a lot on seeing your food first, preparing your spoon or fork before taking a huge bite. Then comes the sense of taste into the equation. However, this whole process of eating is thrown out the window once you go for the unique Dine on the Dark.

The story behind Dine in the Dark – Gizani

Dans Le Noir or Dine in the dark was founded in France in 2004. The restaurants have been opened in Barcelona, Paris, St Petersburgh, London and now in Nairobi. It is the first of its kind in Africa. When I spoke to Fabrice Roszczka, the General Manager of Dans Le Noir as to why they selected Kenya he quickly said;

“Because Kenya is the best! “

Together with Ahmed Kamara, who has been visually impaired since 2008, have partnered together to bring Gizani. Meaning darkness in Kiswahili, the idea is definite social innovation and something you must try out!

The restaurant also creates job for the 12 blind wait staff who for the first time can now take home their own pay cheque and not depend on others.

“Gizani is not a charity, we hire blind staff because they simply are the best. “

And the best they are, the neatness and great mobility they guide each person with ion the dark room is amazing. Upon speaking to one of the wait staff, Ken, he said that it is one of the best ideas yet!

The Gizani team
The Gizani choir

My Gizani experience

My friend and I made to the tribe hotel super excited about trying out this new restaurant in town. Located in the Tribe hotel, the walk to the restaurant is beautiful. Little did we know we needed to take in every single sight we were seeing as we were going to be in darkness for an hour and a half.

“Are you nervous?” Lynette, the lady who led us to the restaurant asked.

“No way!” I quickly responded “I am so excited.”

My friend quickly made sure to apply her make up stating, you never know who you might meet. Little did we know just how dark it was going to be.

Being led into Gizani Restaurant
Being led into Gizani Restaurant

When we arrived, we were informed we had to part with any light emitting objects, i.e phones.Yes, you have to part with your phone!! This is so as to make sure the room remains completely dark. This task was not easy for us as we are all so reliant on our phones. We were then told to stand in line and place our hands on the person ahead of you shoulder. This would help the guide at the front, who is blind, help you get to your seat. We obediently followed orders and walked into the room.

I must say the first few minutes I was completely shocked by the utter darkness of the room. I was freaking out!! Every step I took felt like I would trip on something. I don’t know why but when you can’t see, there is a great sense of paranoia.

Gizani team
Gizani team

We had to wait as each person was seated and it was finally my turn. I was guided to my seat and I had to use my sense of touch to find my way around the room. The three course meal is up to par and the hilarious experience of filing your drink in the dark is one that will have you amazed at the wait staff.The experience of eating food in the dark with only your taste buds and smell to guide you is interesting to say the least.

Just like their slogan, everything definitely is more fun in the dark. You get to socialize more and know people beyond the makeup and exterior. Gizani is a perfect location for a date, team building or just a great family dinner.

So although I will never see the room where we ate and had a fun and culinary rave in my mouth, I love it because dinner at Gizani is not like anywhere else, it is an experience you will never forget.

Rating: 9/10

Price: Ksh 6000 per person

Timings: 7pm-9pm, 9pm-11pm, Weekends only.