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2007/03/07

Blind Leading the Blind - Shanghai Edition

While Beijing's "dark" restaurant (first discussed here) got skewered by That's Beijing, Shanghai is getting its own dark restaurant. The restaurant in question, called the "Black Cafe", would appear to be Shanghai's first "dark" restaurant. I know articles on the Beijing version mentioned that 10 would eventually be opened up around the country, I think those were the plans of the owner of the Beijing restaurant. That means Shanghai may end up having multiple "dark" restaurants, it seems like this may be an unfortunate growing trend in China. Surprisingly, China Daily has been the only source of news on the restaurant so far, though one would expect a write up in Shanghaiist can't be far behind.

For my money, the one thing that sets this place apart from the one in Beijing is that they've actually hired blind waiters, something I complained about when it came to the Beijing restaurant. The owner even seemed to take a shot at the Beijing version (where waiters wear night vision goggles) with this quote:
"If we had waiters with night-vision goggles, then customers may feel a little uncomfortable floundering in the dark," the former San Francisco resident said. "We want people to really get into their food, to use their fingers even."

It still appears that the Shanghai version has nothing to do with the Disabled Federation and isn't going to be donating any money to causes for the blind. The article, both by the owners quotes and how its written by the author, doesn't avoid the common stereotypes that people have of the blind. Though at least the restaurant has blind waiters, thus offering employment for some blind people.

The concept of the restaurant is very gimmicky and seems like the kind of place where people might go once to try. However, if this place offers the quality that the article suggests it might, people might actually want to come back. The Black Cafe is located at 65 N. Maoming Rd and the phone number is 021-52286575. If anybody in Shanghai has gone, I'd be more than willing to post a review or just your impressions of the restaurant (or if you have your own blog, I'd be willing to link to it).

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nancy said...

ya. imagine being in a dark world, where vision is completely useless, i will be the first one to ask to have the lights turned on.
but it would be a great experience to eat and talk in the dark.. but what about checking out, what if i mistake a 100 bill for a 10. hmm, maybe i should bring a flashlight when i go just in case.

b. cheng said...

one of the things people talk about is how this sort of dining offers an introduction to what it is like being blind, far from it! However, it does seem good for a new experience or with some strangers, the focus is on the taste of the food and those around you, instead of just based on looks and appearance.

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