The idea of eating in a prison grounds and being waited on and cooked for by prisoners might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but when the dining area is more gastro-pub than Alcatraz and the cuisine more Le Mercury than Oliver Twist, you might consider giving it a second thought.
Obviously there are some security measures that you’re unlikely to experience at your usual eatery, but nothing so intrusive as to sour your memory of the day (unless of course you’re attempting to smuggle in some contraband).
Before venturing through the prison doors, you’re told which items you’re not allowed to take in with you, some obvious – mobile phone, weapons, alchol and some not so obvious – blue tack, tube map, headphones. There are lockers available in an outside office where you can store everything safely, but if in doubt, it’s best to leave any unnecessary items at home.
Once through the prison doors you’ll shortly enter the restaurant, which is indistinguishable from any other mainstream restaurant – I’ve kept this brief so as not to take away from your experience. You can then make your choices from a reasonably priced a la carte seasonal menu. For obvious reasons they don’t serve alcohol, but they do have a wide range of soft drinks, and with the restaurant only serving breakfast and lunch, you won’t really feel like you’re missing out.
Without going into too much detail, I can confirm that the food was great, the service was excellent and the experience was truly one of a kind (which is something that you can’t genuinely say too often in London).
This is something I’d recommend to anyone for the experience alone, but paired with the fact that the inspiration for The Clink restaurants is to reduce re-offending rates of ex-offenders by providing prisoners with practical skills that help to aid their rehabilitation make it a no-brainer.
Address: Her Majesty’s Prison Brixton, Jebb Avenue, Brixton, SW2 5XF
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, breakfast: 8.15am – 10.30am, lunch: 12pm – 3pm
Other Clink restaurants: Cardiff, High Down (Surrey) and Styal (Wilmslow)
Restrictions: 18 years and over only