A CAFE specialising in Arabic cuisine is set to open a women-only area next Friday.

It comes on the back of Taiba Arabic Inn recently opening a first-floor dining area, featuring authentic North African decoration and music, which owner Ahmed Morse believes will allow customers to close their eyes and feel like they are in Morocco, rather than Blackburn.

With the option of drawing curtains around each individual seating area for privacy, the first-floor seating area, which caters for around 40 customers, also has facilities for prayer.

The women-only area, situated on the second floor, will have two ‘tents’ each catering for a maximum of around 20 people

Mr Morse, a 44-year-old married father-of-three who lives in Blackburn, said: “I wanted to create a place where people could come and feel like they weren’t in Blackburn anymore, but North Africa.

“I wanted that Moroccan experience. I wanted my customers to be able to close their eyes and feel like they were in warmer climates and I believe I have achieved that now.”

Mr Morse, who first opened the business in Limbrick three years ago, said women could congregate on either the ground, first or second floor but he decided to exclude men from the top floor after requests from customers.

“People have been asking for a ladies-only area for a long time,” he said.

“It’s not about actively trying to segregate people. It’s about people feeling as relaxed and as comfortable as possible.

“Ladies can still sit where they want - upstairs or downstairs. But the idea is if ladies are in a group and they want some privacy from men then they can have it. I just want people to come here to eat, relax, chat.”

The café, which is set to provide delivery via the Just Eat online service next month, also offers room hire for functions.

The menu includes Shawarma, lamb or chicken on salted waffles, falafel, tagine, desserts, fresh juice, Arabic coffee boiled on sand and Moroccan tea.

Opening hours are 5pm to 11pm Monday to Thursday and 5pm to midnight Friday to Sunday.