BERLIN (Sept. 5) - Diners at Berlin's newest restaurant cannot see what they are eating and have to be guided to their table by blind waiters because the bar is pitch black.
The restaurant, which opened Wednesday, aims to make guests concentrate on senses other than sight.
Holding on to one another, the first visitors followed waiter Roland Zimmermann, 33, into the dining room. Although the PhD student has been blind since childhood, he is the only one able to point out chairs, cutlery and drinks.
"I'm putting your plate right in front of you," Zimmermann said. "I can't find my mouth," one voice replied out of the dark. "I wonder what this dish is - Lasagne? Or some casserole?" another invisible guest said.
In the "unsicht-Bar," which means invisible in German, diners cannot choose complete dishes from the menu but can only indicate whether they would like a fish, meat or vegetarian option.
"We want people to have an extraordinary experience of tasting, feeling and smelling," said Manfred Scharbach, head of the organization for blind and sight-restricted people, which is running the bar.
"People are surprised that their tongues and taste senses are taking over and are sending signals, which their eyes would normally have sent," he added.
Of the 30 staff, 22 are blind.
An average meal lasts about three hours and the waiters are always around to help, Scharnbach said.
And at the end of the night, they will even reveal what customers have actually been eating.