Could this be the most missed-the-mark themed eatery yet? East London's latest pop-up might have taken things a little too far down the provocatory rabbit hole. For £50 a head (around AU$80), punters can make a reservation at a new temporary eatery called Death Row Dinners — a 'high security restaurant' with a five-course menu inspired by the last meals of death row inmates. According to the website, "for a short time only in beautiful Hoxton you can enjoy the idea of the last meal, without the nasty execution bit."
DEATH ROW DINNERS IS COMING TO TOWN. The dates for your sentence have been confirmed and your meal tickets are now on sale.
— Death Row Dinners (@DeathRowDinners) September 4, 2014
Capitalising on the apparently "age-old question" — "What would your last meal be?" — Death Row Dinners works like this, according to the website:
"On the night of your incarceration, you will join 80 fellow inmates and experience a night behind the bars of one of London’s toughest high security restaurants where our prison chefs serve up a five-course feast of their culinary twists on some of death rows most interesting and popular last dinners. You don't need to know anymore than that really, but prepare to be charged, sentenced, searched and frisked."
Because nothing says bon appetit like cheerfully chowing down on someone's final request before they're killed by the state. The website featured real photos (before they were taken down) of inmates with their last menus around their necks.
Reactions were pretty angry across the board, ranging from pure anger to bluff-calling. Publications like Vice are calling it "an elaborate ruse set up by art students," while Twitter has inevitably erupted.
@DeathRowDinners using pictures of people who were executed with "menus" round their necks, how on earth did you think that was okay?!
— Primrose Prints (@PrimrosePrints) September 16, 2014
Hi @DeathRowDinners I want the full "death row" experience but without any of the trials, imprisonment, death or indignity. Can you do that?
— linkshund (@linkshund) September 16, 2014
But some thought the idea 'genius' and chose novelty over thematic implications.
— Alex (@girlfridayx) September 16, 2014
— Cubcake (@iBearo) September 16, 2014
After sufficient cons (heh) outweighed the pros the team had no choice but to put the whole thing on pause and formally apologise. This statement was issued on the Death Row Dinners website:
"We're shocked and saddened by the response to Death Row Dinners and are genuinely very sorry for any offence caused. The pop up is intended to explore the concept of last meals; anyone who has ever been to a dinner party has probably had this conversation – what would they love their last meal to be."
After such a unanimously opposed reaction to the idea, Death Row Dinners are considering their next steps; promising to update the angry mob with their decision.
Top image: British artist James Reynolds recreated Death Row meals in 2010.
Published on September 17, 2014 by Shannon Connellan