Last weekend, my parents and I drove for two days to Montreal to see my sister graduate from University. It was, as you can imagine, a touching event, with the obligatory misplaced speech, Scottish bagpipers, and really good-looking young adults going on the stage to be lightly tapped on the head with a feathered hat.
My brother and I remembered how full of hope we were on that day, confident of our knowledge and our eventual role in life. It was, you may say, the climax of our lives. Little did we know that we in fact knew very little, and that the rest of our lives would become a complex set of equations and priorities. We were happily in the dark.
Which brings me to the restaurant my sister invited us to, the night before:
Restaurant ONoir (a play on the expression "in the dark" in French)
1631 Sainte-Catherine Street West
A seriously sensorial experience, ONoir succeeds in seducing both your taste buds and your imagination. Meals are served in total darkness (cell phones, matches, luminous watches or any other light-emitting apparatuses are strictly forbidden) to heighten your senses and understand, for the duration of your meal, at least, what it is to be blind, like the staff who serves you.
The concept is the brainchild of Jorge Spielmann, a blind pastor from Zurich, who would blindfold dinner guests to give them a taste of his own dining experience. ONoir donates 5% of its profits to local organizations that serve blind or visually impaired people of all ages. Sundays feature the talents of Les Ombres (that’s “shadows” in English), a group composed of a mystery singer and blind musicians.
What an appropriate choice!