FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY Ô 6E SENS?
We believe that this name is perfect for the only restaurant in the dark in Québec City, and here’s why:
The sixth sense might make it possible to perceive intangible elements of the world, and thus belongs more to the “spiritual” world than the anatomical one. Generally, it is linked to premonitions, or the ability to anticipate events. It is also said that the sixth sense might allow one to perceive certain things without actually seeing them.
Obviously, this is yet to be proven. However, some blind people use echolocation to locate obstacles. The use of hearing by blind people is perceived as a sixth sense. Several studies confirmed that the echo of the sounds emitted by blind people helps them to determine the distance of certain obstacles. This system is also known to be used by bats and dolphins.
At Ô 6e Sens, simply let yourself be guided by your intuition. Will you discover your own sixth sense?
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THIS ORIGINAL CONCEPT? A LITTLE HISTORY...
It seems that dining in the dark is a concept that goes back to the end of the 19th century, although it is quite difficult to verify. Back in the 90s, researchers such as Andreas Heineke in Germany and Michel Reilhac in France tried to push the concept a step further by organizing (especially over the last decade) a wide range of events set in the dark. So, around Europe, dinners and evenings set in total darkness started to take place, as well as exhibitions and tactile and audio performances.
Since 1999, this kind of experience has gained popularity, thanks to the Paul Guinot Foundation, the second largest foundation for blind people in France. This foundation has implemented a program of dinners in the dark entitled “A taste of darkness? (Le goût du noir?)”. Positive feedbacks from customers and the media led to the opening of several more restaurants in the dark in major cities around the world.
In Quebec, the concept was born from the meeting of two foundations: Mira and Caecitas. Mira promotes the autonomy of blind people through guide dogs and Caecitas supports job-creating projects for this very disadvantaged clientele in terms of work opportunities. In short, one helps a blind person to get out and about and the other gives them a job!
It is Jean-François Lessard who promoted the project to the two foundations. He also reached out to two partners, Patrick Vézina and Gaétan Paquet (Lunetterie du Faubourg), and together, they imagined a concept adapted to the Québec City region.
Other partners have also made this project possible : www.mira.ca,www.fondationcaecitas.org, www.adaptavie.org, l’Institut en réadaptation et déficience physique de Québec (www.irdpq.qc.ca),www.centrelouisjolliet.qc.ca, l’École hôtelière de la Capitale (www.ehcapitale.qc.ca), and our architect Louise Amiot.
WHAT MAKES Ô 6E SENS DIFFERENT THAN OTHER RESTAURANTS IN THE DARK?
At Ô 6e Sens, we distinguish ourselves of all other restaurants in the dark by our desire to adapt the totality of our workplace to blind waiters. Our difference also lies in our dimly lit section, imagined by the architect Louise Amiot and designed to destabilize the sense of sight. This friendly space serves as a reception area and should you feel any discomfort in the dark dining room, you will be invited to continue your meal there. This is where you can also admire our blind Barman at work — Relax before your meal and enjoy a refreshing cocktail or discuss of your experience afterwards while sampling one of our selected wines.
And don’t forget to try out the sofa area where you can unwind and observe the guide dogs resting in their lounge.
At Ô 6e Sens, we give a percentage of out profits to organizations that support people who are blind or visually impaired such as the MIRA and CAECITAS Foundations.
IS THE DINING ROOM REALLY SUBMERGED IN TOTAL DARKNESS?
Yes, it is! In fact, a section of the restaurant is lit, but the dining room is in absolute darkness! People are not used to completely dark environments because it’s difficult to find this degree of darkness on a daily basis; lampposts or the moon always produce some level of light.
However, in the dark dining room at Ô 6e Sens, there is no light at all!
To keep the environment in total darkness, we will ask you to turn off any potential sources of light, such as watches, cell phones or cameras, and place them in your pocket, purse or store them safely in a locker provided for this purpose.
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO EAT IN TOTAL DARKNESS? ISN’T IT MESSY?
Once deprived of our sight, our main sense, we tend to rely more on our other senses: hearing, touch, smell and of course, taste! You will naturally rely on these senses once in the dark.
Even if the first steps in the dark dining room can be daunting, the experience will become more and more enjoyable as you relax.
Our blind waiters are well trained to guide you and ensure your well-being.
WHY ARE THE WAITERS BLIND?
Blind people are very skilled in the dark and are the best people to do this kind of work in this specific context. Ô 6e Sens is fully adapted to them and everything is set to promote their autonomy to the maximum.
As you will be deprived of your sense of sight for at least an hour and a half, you will have to rely your waiter completely. This experience is a token of trust that promotes awareness of visual impairment and other disabilities in general.
HOW CAN WE WALK AROUND IN THE DARK DINING ROOM?
It’s prohibited to walk around without assistance in the dark dining room, as your movements could expose waiters and other guests to some risks. So, if you want to go to the bathroom or leave the restaurant, you only need to notify your waiter who will guide you out of the dark dining room.
HOW DO WE ORDER? CAN WE SEE THE MENU?
If you need your waiter, just SHOUT OUT their name. But, REMEMBER, in order for you to make the most of your experience, we keep an element of mystery around the menu. Guessing what you’re eating is one of the challenges to take on at Ô 6e Sens! The only possible option is the choice of drinks.
When you leave the dark dining room, you will be invited to meet our Chef in the kitchen who will reveal the precise contents of your plate! Surprisingly fun, isn’t it?
HOW CAN WE GET THE ATTENTION OF OUR WAITER?
Just SHOUT OUT their name! You will be introduced to your waiter before entering the dark dining room.
DO MANY BLIND PEOPLE COME AND DINE AT YOUR RESTAURANT?
Not particularly, but those who do certainly enjoy the experience because it’s a unique way for them to share their world with their family and friends.
IS THE CHEF BLIND? IS THE KITCHEN IN THE DARK?
Our Chef, Maxime Deschamps, is not blind and the kitchen is lit so that he and his team can use all their senses to create exceptional dishes.
ARE THE BATHROOMS IN THE DARKNESS?
It would be rather funny, but no, the bathrooms are lit! These are located in the lit section of the restaurant.
IS IT FREQUENT THAT A PERSON CANNOT TOLERATE THE DARKNESS?
It’s really rare that a person feels uncomfortable eating in the dark. The experience is so incredible that most people (literally) savor this exciting and unusual moment that allows them to explore their senses.
But for some people who suffer from intense fears or phobias, we offer them to continue their meal in the lit section. This is our Plan B! They then have the privilege of admiring the blind waiters in action!
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SECURITY?
Everything has been carefully considered! The dark room is supervised by the Butler, who’s equipped with night vision goggles. If anyone felt uncomfortable during the meal, discreet, booth-integrated lightings would come on to facilitate an emergency exit, without interfering with the other guests’ experience. Your blind waiter has been trained to reassure you and help you make the most of your experience. At all times, they stay close to you to intervene quickly should you call them.
Of course, the restaurant respects municipal bylaws as well as those of the MAPAQ. An emergency evacuation plan has also been prepared.
WHAT KIND OF FOOD DO YOU SERVE?
Our classic-style cuisine draws as much as possible from seasonal and local Québec produce. The menu has been developed to highlight the flavors of the produce and to portray them in their simplest expression. We hope that our discovery menu will allow our visitors to experience a new way of exploring flavors.
In order to make the most of your experience, we advise you to relax and let yourself be delighted by one of the hearty three-course menus prepared by our Chef Maxime Deschamps and his team. Sit back and enjoy the flavors of land and sea with your guests. When you leave the dark dining room, we’ll reveal the precise contents of your plate!
Surprisingly fun, isn’t it?
WHAT ABOUT SPECIAL FOOD REQUIREMENTS?
We pay special attention to it. When booking your table, our staff will ask you if you have any intolerances, allergies or if you are vegetarian. If necessary, our Chef will adapt the menu accordingly.
HOW LONG WILL I STAY IN THE DARK DINING ROOM?
Visitors spend on average 1 ½ hours to 2 hours in the dark dining room.
HOW MANY BLIND PEOPLE WORK AT Ô 6E SENS?
Ten waiters work here full time. There are also sighted staff to make sure our guests have a great experience.
HOW MANY SEATS ARE THERE IN THE DARK DINING ROOM?
We prefer to keep the mystery! It’s up to you to have a guess. This will make your experience even more special…
ANY FUNNY ANECDOTES?
Some customers admit licking their plate clean! And we don’t blame them! Some people decide to set themselves a real “blind” date and share a meal in the dark dining room before getting to know each other better at the bar, in the lit section of the restaurant.
In total darkness, we are all equal. Whether you are a politician, engineer, secretary, lawyer or doctor, in the dark, we all look the same. Thus, the labels disappear at the same time as the light…
CAN I BRING MY KIDS WITH ME?
Of course! Kids aged 7 and over are welcome.
For younger ones, they must be able to remain seated for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours. However, the experience could be unsettling for a young child.
But remember, the parents’ attitude counts for a lot…
DO I NEED TO BOOK IN ADVANCE?
Yes, we recommend to book beforehand as the restaurant is often fully booked one to two weeks in advance on weekends.
But the best experience happens on weekdays. It’s more intimate and quiet. It is often easier to book a table at the last minute, depending on your availability.