No, we didn’t have a power cut.
I’ve written at length in the past about the cheap side of Singapore and how it is possible to visit Singapore on a budget whilst still having a good time. I haven’t really touched on the expensive side much because, in short, I’ve not really experienced it too much. Hey, I might be earning here but I still have the mentality of a backpacker! Old habits die hard.
This Sunday just gone, however, I had my first real taste of the slightly more expensive side of Singapore (out of my own wallet!) when I visited Nox – a restaurant in the Bugis area of the city for a friend’s birthday.
From the outside, Nox is fairly unassuming. It could be one of a number of restaurants around the Arab Street area serving standard Turkish fare and no one would bat an eyelid. This couldn’t be further from the case.
Nox’s main selling point is the fact that you dine in the dark, and by that they truly do mean ‘in the dark’. I’m not talking ‘dark’ like when you turn the lights out at bedtime: you literally cannot see a thing here. It is ensured that it stays that way too, as guests are required to place all objects that could create light in a locker before they sit at their table. No Facebook check-ins here! You’re also encouraged to go to the toilet before you go to your table – or at least ‘have a try’ – to quote every parent ever. It’s still light at that point, in case you were wondering.
After a glass of wine and a small amuse-bouche (yes, you are still reading Rambling Northerner) we were taken to meet our guide for the night who, just like all the other waiters and waitresses, was blind. That’s right – all the waiters and waitresses at Nox are completely blind. Their visual impairment allows for more heightened senses, which makes this the ideal job for them.
Once you are sat at your table it takes a few moments to become fully accustomed to the fact that you literally can’t see a thing (and the fact that you’re not on a Heston Blumenthal show), pick out any shapes or perhaps most importantly – tell which wine glass is yours. You quickly realise who is sat where purely from your sense of sound, but it’s pretty hard to tell how far away they are and impossible to know what they’re doing. I spent most of the meal with my elbows on the table (a big ‘up yours’ to all the primary school dinner ladies who ever bollocked me for this!) and sometimes with my head in my hands – it’s tiring work sitting in the dark!
The food comes from a set menu and you are served three courses consisting of four small dishes each – this comes in at $88. You can also choose to have wine with your meal – we went for the three glass option for $40. This meant we were served a glass with each course and, true to form, we weren’t told what these would be either. One thing I learnt is that I definitely don’t like dessert wine!
The dishes were small but definitely filling after 12 of them! We were served a wide variety of meats with really interesting accompaniments (I won’t say what, as I don’t know how often they change the menu). I can honestly say that after being shown what they were afterwards, there were certain things on there that I would probably never have ordered in a normal restaurant but there wasn’t a single dish I didn’t enjoy. I think it really shows how much we let our sense of sight influence our opinions of food. Either that, or I’m just an animal who will eat anything.
Of course, such a dining experience doesn’t come cheap (especially not in Singapore!) and once our drinks were added on top as well as the service charge we parted with roughly $170 each. Despite burning a bit of a hole in my pocket I would recommend Nox to anyone who isn’t a fussy eater. I do believe when it comes to food you can’t really put a price on a great experience and that’s what I had at Nox. All I’ll say is that I wouldn’t go back so soon – who knows how often they change their menu?!