I was invited to a Dining in the Dark event at The Living Room in Oxford and I was very intrigued. The idea was to try some of the food from their menu, whilst blindfolded, and then to guess what it was you were eating! Three of us were there for the taste off; the lovely Jo from Comfort Bites, my other half (The Accidental Food Photographer) and myself. There was a trophy to win for the most organoleptically adept and so we donned our blindfolds for the first taste.
You can tell a lot by smell, I found, but the taste and texture were better indicators of what it was that you were eating. I thought it would be pretty easy and I was quite surprised at how hard it was to identify something like broccoli! The first thing was a butternut squash and dolcelatte tart; not something I would ever order but I really enjoyed it. Although I thought it was pear, walnut and blue cheese. Close I suppose.There were two things that I tried that I was really surprised by: Moroccan lamb with giant couscous and the homemade vegetarian Glamorgan sausages. I would be unlikely to order either of these but after having tried them I was surprised how much I liked them.
The lamb was lovely and spiced without being too powerful and the giant couscous was a revelation; I thought it would be like frog spawn but I can't wait to start experimenting with my own! The vegetarian sausages were great too; a really interesting texture and unusual flavour they are definitely worth a second try.
I also discovered that there are things I'm not so keen on even when I don't know they're in there. I have an inexplicable hatred for lemongrass and the vegetable laksa was really not for me. At least I know I definitely don't like lemongrass and it's not just because I think I don't.
We also had some fillet steak where we had to guess the flavour of the butter; I wasn't very good at that! They were garlic butter and Bloody Mary butter; the latter being something I'd not tried with steak before and it was really interesting.
Another of the things I tried was macaroni cheese and we had to guess the added flavour; it was truffle which was fighting its way through at the end of the mouthful. This was something to order on a rainy day; real comfort food.
When it came to dessert it was the texture that gave away the flavour rather than the flavour itself. The passion fruit and coconut crème brûlée being easily identified because of the passion fruit seeds. The basil grande is the kind of pudding I would order as it sounds interesting but I was rubbish at identifying the other flavours apart from basil. The booze in the description of this pudding would have stopped me from ordering it; however, it was so subtle I didn't even notice!
I think the cocktails were the most difficult to identify. One of them that was green tea I thought was peach and lemon! Even obvious things like berry flavours were hard to work out when you can't see it. The one that looks like a mini beer was a Manhattan and the white part at the top was like vanilla ice cream.
Overall I enjoyed the experience and I enjoyed the food. It was good because I learnt that I preferred the things I wouldn't normally order than the things I would usually choose. I think in the future I will remember this and give some different things a try. I didn't think I did very well at guessing the flavours, however, it turned out that I won!