Wednesday 14 November 2012

Dining in the Dark @ The Living Room W1

If someone asked you to Dine in the Dark, would you?

This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I was lucky enough to have recently been invited to participate in an event at The Living Room W1. Thankfully, it didn’t involve a darkened room, or deep purple velour curtains to block the light (as I worried it might!), but a table of fellow food bloggers in a lively restaurant, each having been assigned their own blindfold and quiz sheet. 

Myself and the OH, @kaveyf, @wl_living and @candidsbyjo sat happily in The Living Room, W1 on Heddon St, London. I’ve never been to a ‘Living Room’ before, but was surprised with the buzz for a Thursday evening. A little worried about what other diners might think about a group of people donning blindfolds to eat our food, we double-checked the rules, were given our instructions and began the tasting challenge. Now, I’ve always thought that my senses of smell and taste were very good, but having a blindfold on, and no menu to double-check ingredients, makes it so much harder than first thought!


We worked our way through the new menu, from starters to cocktails! Most of the tasters were served on sticks or on Chinese spoons which were kindly guided to our mouths if necessary. (That’s something else…try feeding yourself whilst blindfolded!)  Questions ranged from guessing the spices, to the main ingredient, or even the flavour of the accompaniment. I found myself using my sense of touch an awful lot more than usual, picking the spoons and stick apart and tasting each individual piece flavour by flavour.


One of the first tastes was so familiar…on the tip of my tongue, so to speak. But it took until the very last minute for me to actually realise it was goat’s cheese. I know what you’re thinking…’But that’s such a recognisable taste’. And yes, you’re right, it is. But not when you’ve got no idea what’s coming up, the name of the dish, not when you haven’t chosen it from the menu, read the ingredients, or SEEN it! The question was to name the accompaniments to the Black Forest smoked cured ham. I was pleased to have managed, from the depths of my brain, to have identified two of the three: the goat’s cheese, eventually, and beetroot. There was no chance I was also going to decide upon the raspberry in the vinaigrette! The menu-speak for this delicious starter is ‘Black Forest smoked cured ham and fig, with a goats cheese mousse and raspberry and beetroot vinaigrette’. All I know is that it was yummy!


I can’t possibly name all the little taster spoons we had, but I’ll pick out a few highlights for you:

The ‘Toulouse sausage in a spicy tomato, fennel, green pepper and paprika sauce on ciabatta’ was a tasty mouthful where I felt the flavours all combined well. It was also one of the easier challenges, with such strong flavours and I managed to find the fennel and paprika on this one. I’m also a sucker for a burger if we go out to eat, and the ‘Pork and chorizo burger with a smoked paprika aioli on a brioche bun’ was another favourite of mine. If you’re having a steak, I’d definitely recommend one of the flavoured butters to add a little something extra. The Blue cheese and port is particularly strong and thick, the garlic and parsley does what it says and the more unusual Bloody Mary has a good tomatoey flavour.

One of the ingredients most of us failed to identify at all, was the plum in the Duck breast with szechuan pepper and plum chutney, chilli fried bok choi and sweet potato fondant. There really didn’t seem to be any plummy flavour there at all. Maybe with a bigger portion size, it would be more recognisable. Lastly, I’d definitely recommend the Living Room’s version of Shepherd's Pie. Now, you probably already know that the name means the meat should be lamb, a Cottage Pie, however, would normally be beef. We were asked to identify the meat in this version. I plumped for lamb, mainly based on the name rather than the flavour, and the fact I though the taste was quite rich and a little bit greasy (which I like in a pie!) It was, in fact, Venison, and was also excellent. I’d definitely be ordering this if I visited again.


We were lucky enough to taste five of the cheeses on offer: Stilton, Cheddar, Brie, Edam and Manchego and also a range of cocktails. After, of course, a small sample of puddings! The Basil Grande was very unusual, with a mix of basil, meringue, Grand Marnier, strawberries and cream, and absolutely divine!

So, we come to the end, even though I don’t think any of us achieved more than half marks! Our well-deserved winner was @wl_living with a clear lead. She even got to take home the trophy. Congratulations! ( I came second, and there was no hope of me catching the leader, even if I’d been braver with some of my answers!)


Would I recommend the new menu? Definitely. But I’d also recommend you take a blindfold, order a small selection each without telling the other, and try the Dining in the Dark challenge for yourself!

Thanks to Kat for organising. If you’d like to find out about other events, why not follow #tlrblindsupperparty on Twitter?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Merlotti x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.