If you want to try something new in every sense of the word, you can go to The Clink Restaurant in Brixton. It’s one of four restaurants in prisons, the other three are in Sutton, Cardiff, and Cheshire. You can go eat in a prison and all the food is prepared and served by prisoners.
The Clink Restaurant concept was created by Alberto Crisci in 2009 and is a part of The Clink Charity’s rehabilitation initiatives.
You can guess Alberto’s Italian origins from his name. His parents emigrated separately from Campania in the 1950s; his mother from Avellino and his father from Caserta. They met in Epsom, Surrey and married.
The charitable organization aims to break the cycle of crime by changing attitudes, creating second chances, and reducing the number of people who must return to prison due to lack of opportunity.
Every inmate who works in a Clink restaurant studies for NVQ-accredited qualifications in food preparation, waitering, and cleaning. While working in a restaurant, Clink, inmates gain experience in an operational activity and receive a detailed guide to find full-time work in hospitality upon release.
The first Clink restaurant opened in 2009 at HMP High Down in Surrey. Alberto Crisci, then head of catering, identified the need for formal training, qualifications, and support for inmates in research. The Brixton restaurant was the third restaurant to open.
The Brixton restaurant follows The Clink’s five-step program, which has been successfully implemented at both previous Clink restaurants, to educate inmates and equip them with the skills and confidence to secure employment upon release.
The restaurant is located inside HMP Brixton, a category C prison, and can accommodate 120 diners. It is located inside the old Governor’s House, built in 1819. Meanwhile, the restaurant is open to the public.
Of course there is no alcohol, all cutlery is plastic, and you’ll need to go through security. But to do something different than usual, you’ll try everything, you’ve probably never been to a prison before.
You have to book first, though, and to do that you have to go here. If you think you will only find bread and water, you are very wrong; the reviews of experts and ordinary people are generally very favourable.