Monday, 25 January 2010

A sensual evening in pictures

It takes practice, eating with your fingers, to do it with style... but my guests were game

Cutting the Durian, protecting myself from the spikes with a towel...

This is probably the dinner at which I would have most liked to have been a guest at my own restaurant.
For the 'sound' course my daughter made a seashore tape to go with the ceviche.
The fun really began though with the main course 'touch' where I encouraged everybody to eat with their hands, explaining as best I could, the Indian technique. We gave everybody wipes to clean their hands before and after.
I had bought an entire Durian fruit, costing over £30, for the 'smell' course. Durian has it's own export plane and it's illegal to take it on public transport in the far East. Judging from the reaction at Wing Yip supermarket where I bought the fruit, I was the first Westerner to ever do so. They packed it into a box and taped it down, after having shown me the end where to 'open' the fruit. One guest said
"I loved it when you brought the giant mutant conker to the table".
The inside had the texture of artichoke hearts with a sweet and sour taste. It didn't actually smell too bad, being quite fresh.
I 'matched' this with 'Stinking Bishop' cheese which was practically crawling off the cheese board by itself.

At the end I asked everybody to don their masks...the effect was of a roomful of Zorro's! As we handed around the desserts, I had to place the spoons into guest's hands. Some had found their spoons but were stabbing around on the table cloth trying to find the ramekin. Comments from guests about eating blindfolded:
"Time slowed down. Normally I wolf through dessert, but this time I savoured the taste"
"I felt vulnerable, exposed. Like everybody else was looking at me with their blindfolds off"
"I liked it. It meant I could concentrate on my dessert without talking to anybody else"
"Because I couldn't see, I didn't realise that I could eat the hard chocolate base, I thought it was the bottom of the dish, then I realised I could dig further"
On the hush that descended once the blindfolds were put on:
"I went to 'Dans le Noir' (a restaurant in Clerkenwell where you eat in darkness and the staff are blind). There, I noticed everybody talked louder, as if having their other senses deprived meant that they had to compensate."
One girl asked if she could take her blindfold home, her boyfriend "had plans".


  1. This looks like an awesome idea for an evening's meal. Was "sight" just included in the courses in which there were no blindfolds, or was there a separate course for it? Or were you going for "lack of sight"?

  2. Yes it was deprivation of sight for the last course...and it served to highlight that we eat with our eyes!

  3. Did you make people hold their noses at any point? If you take a mouthful of food with your nose held,chew a bit then let go, the flavour just floods through.

  4. ha ha! Like the ending there! :) A night of the senses aroused more than expected! What was the dessert though?! How was the durian received for taste by people?! Did you take a photo of the ceviche! xxx

  5. Wow - that looks so amazing.

  6. are you planning on similar adventures in some near future? f**king brilliant!

  7. Loved the evening - very different and the food was delicious!

    I still miss this curry with the tinda. Gorgeous. Where did you find those?

    Thanks especially for being so welcoming and creating a warm atmosphere.

  8. This looked so much fun. What a great idea.

  9. That looks like such a fun dinner. Although I don't think you could pay me to eat durian.

  10. congratulations, it looks like a delightful evening. i wish i could have been there. x shayma

  11. Jo:I had durian cake and the smell was so awful...but the fresh fruit wasn't that bad.
    CC: it's the Japanese ceviche I've done on other tastes great but doesn't photograph well.
    Luschka; thankyou
    Around the world: It'd be good to do another one...
    chocoralie: I found the tinda in Wembley...fantastic and cheap Indian shops...
    Graphic foodie: it was fun absolutely
    Caroline: as I said, it wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be
    Shayma: thank you and hope to meet you some day

  12. Thanks! Will definitely try wembley this week-end to cook a tinda Masala...


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