Thursday, 15 November 2012

Dining in the Dark at the Living Room

This week, Jamie and myself were invited to 'dine in the dark' at the Living Room Manchester. When the e-mail appeared in my inbox I was rather excited having heard about restaurants that serve in the dark on the continent and elsewhere. This, however, was a much safer option, with blindfolds to obscure our vision rather than pitch blackness (especially good for me as Gregor Schneider's Kinderzimmer scarred me for life).

The evening took the form of a "pub quiz", as we were asked various questions about the dishes we blind tasted. This was a well-received format, although the bloggers did differ to the author of the quiz with regards to the definition of ingredients vs. flavours! We were pleased to see Jules from goodgobbleblog, and also had the pleasure of meeting Lex from LadyNom and her lovely friend Sarah, as well as Louise from the Lone Gourmet. There were two other fellas there though I'm afraid I didn't catch their blog name. I shan't embarrass anyone else with blindfolded photos of them, so will dutifully share one of us!

Us at our best... barely visible that is!
There was little opportunity to take photographs, what with all the quizzing and being blind-folded, so all the ones on this post are provided by the Living Room and Flamingo Creative. The stand out dishes of the night were easily the dolcelatte & butternut squash tart, and the lamb tagine. The former with its delightfully crisp pastry and deliciously rich filling had many of us stumpted when it came to guessing the ingredients. The latter was rich and unctuous and was also served with giant couscous which I absolutely love.

Dolcelatte, butternutsquash, walnut and honey tart - not sure what's on top of this one here though!

Lamb tagine with giant couscous, easier to work out the flavours blindfolded on this one.

Another dish which I really enjoyed were the vegetarian sausages. Though I was ridiculed by my scoresheet marker for suggesting a Lancashire cheese was used in the Glanmorgan sausages, I really had the last laugh as I only went and won the quiz! I was the most shocked by this, particularly as I scored a fairly low 14 out of 40. I was inwardly cheering for joy - just at beating Jamie. I have never met anyone with as good a palette as Jamie's and so could not believe I had beaten him! This was practically a double win, as I also no longer need shun veggie sausages (although I fear that all may not be as tasty as the Living Room's).

Not usually a fan of vegetarian sausages but these beat Linda McCartney's hands down!

Another dish which gets a special mention, though unfortunately there is no photograph to accompany it, was the sea bass with orange & broccoli. This was really delicious - and the sea bass was cooked to perfection! This even prompted Jamie to try this combination when we went out for dinner the next evening (more on that later).

We were also given shots of some of the cocktails on the menu, including the Living Room's signature drink - the Basil Grande. This is a drink I have enjoyed since I discovered cocktails, and I would recommend trying this out. It's an unlikely but gorgeous combination of basil, strawberry, black pepper and Grand Marnier.

Trying a menu out in this fashion was great fun & a brilliant PR idea. However, we did not get to try as much as the menu as I would have liked to be able to recommend all of their dishes. I was also very disappointed by their creme brulee, which supposedly tasted of passionfruit and coconut... though I definitely got more of a under-caramelised sugar & over-cooked egg taste. However, the savouries we tasted were well made, and - judging by the photos - well presented! As the saying goes, you eat with your eyes, so to be able to still enjoy the dishes that I've mentioned here without seeing them is quite a success!

Thank you to the Living Room for hosting the evening and Flamingo PR for coming up with such a fab concept for a menu-tasting!