December 7 2013 Latest news:
The Grove Restaurant in Cromer is holding a Dining in the Dark event in aid of Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind as part of the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival. Left, The Grove owner Richard Graveling and head chef Charlie Hodson pictured with Jeremy Goss, fundraising manager for NNAB. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Crisp linen, polished cutlery, sparkling glasses and just the right amount of mood lighting are among the elements you would expect when enjoying fine dining.
But guests at The Grove in Cromer will also be greeted with a more unusual table companion when the country house hotel hosts a dinner with a twist, as part of the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival.
Among the knives and forks will be a blindfold, which guests will be encouraged to wear to get a sense of what it is like to eat without sight.
The dine-in-the dark event is raising awareness and funds for the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB), and foodie fans can expect a true feast for the senses as the special menu will tickle more than just their tastebuds.
Head chef Charlie Hodson said the dishes that would be served on the night have been designed with smell and texture in mind.
“It will be no different to what we do in the restaurant seven days a week but just focused more on smell and texture as opposed to visual, even though it will still be visually beautiful,” he added.
“We’ll be breaking it down so all the smells, textures and tastes are more conspicuous. We want to be able to pick out each component.”
Richard Graveling, whose family has owned The Grove since 1939, said he was looking forward to hearing the diners’ comments about the special menu.
The dining room will be very dimly lit for the evening of entertainment, which will include live music, a talk from NNAB’s leisure co-ordinator Mark Smith on living and eating with vision impairment, and a silent auction in aid of the charity.
The blindfolds will not be compulsory throughout the three-course meal but diners will be encouraged to try eating with them on, and Mr Smith hopes guests will give them a go.
He said: “I’m hoping that by highlighting the situation and giving people the opportunity to sample what it’s like for themselves, both restaurants and diners will understand the need to be tolerant.”
Mr Graveling said the dining in the dark concept came about as he was keen to host an original evening for this year’s food and drink festival.
■ Tickets for the event at The Grove, Overstrand Road, Cromer on October 4 are £40 per person. To book call 01263 512412.