Prison-themed cafe in Egypt for those who dare to commit a ‘food crime’

Shounaz Meky - Al Arabiya English
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Have you ever eaten inside a prison? A newly opened jail-like cafe in Cairo could allow you to have the experience with its unique theme.

The place is designed to make you feel like you’re having dinner inside a prison cell, from writings on its walls, to handcuffs and iron chains which can be found in the dining area.

The restaurant, named “Garemet Akl” -- which literally translates to ‘Food Crime’ in English -- serves authentic Egyptian street food. Its themed menu includes prison-inspired names for a variety of dishes.

Even the dish sizes they serve to customers are given different names. A large size of your dish would be called “execution,” the medium sized one is a “life sentence,” while the smallest is only a “precedent.”

Ahmad Hamad, one of the restaurant’s owners and the man behind the name, told Al Arabiya English the place has been set up this way to be “attractive and different.”

He said: “Guests are usually surprised by the surroundings … They tell us you haven’t missed out on any details of the inside of a prison cell.”

The handcuffs, leg chains, hanging ropes and other items were hard to buy, he said. This prompted the owners to have them designed especially for the cafe, Hamad said.

Diners are also given the chance to capture their own mugshots at a Photo Booth inside the cafe. “That’s the bit many of our visitors enjoy the most,” Hamad said.

Decor aside, Hamad said his main goal is to continue to serve food of “great quality to keep impressing our guests.”

The cafe, however, has been frowned upon by some people, who felt the whole idea of a prison-themed dining place could seem insensitive to prisoners.

To that, Hamad says: “We do not intend to be disrespectful to anyone. This whole thing has been done in good spirit and humor.”

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