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The Clink: Prison restaurant beats top eateries to number one spot on TripAdvisor

Starters cost just £5.75 and include pigeon as well as rabbit and duck terrine

Sarah Young
Monday 27 November 2017 13:46 GMT

A prison restaurant that has bars on its windows and panic buttons embedded into the walls is beating eateries owned by the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver to the number one spot on TripAdvisor.

The Clink restaurant – a charity that aims to rehabilitate prisoners by training them for the food industry – has locations in four secure prisons across the country, three of which are rated No1 in the area on the travel and restaurant review website.

Despite its uncompromising guise, HMP Styal, a women’s prison in Wilmslow, Cheshire, enjoys the top spot out of 62 restaurants.

HMP Cardiff, in Wales, a Category B jail is first out of 943, and HMP High Down, Surrey, beats 134 other restaurants.

Meanwhile, HMP Brixton, one of the country’s most notorious prisons, is rated London’s third-best restaurant out of 18,161 on TripAdvisor, beating the likes of Michael Rouz Jr’s Le Gavroche.

But, with dishes like grilled fillet of turbot with crushed purple potato and slow cooked lamb pot pie, celeriac mash and glazed carrots for £17.95, is it any wonder?

Cooked and served by inmates, starters at the restaurants include pigeon, black pudding, smoked bacon lardon salad and poached quails egg and rabbit and duck terrine with smoked apple relish from £5.75.

Open to the public, The Clink is however unable to serve alcohol while customers phones are confiscated before entering and they are security screened in advance.

Inmates with six to 18 months left of their sentence are able to apply for the programme which aims to train staff to five-star cordon bleu standards in the hopes that they will obtain a job in the food industry on release.

In fact, high street chains such as Wahaca and Carluccio's have taken Clink graduates in the past, as have luxury hotels, including the Lancaster London and the Thistle chain.

“One of the biggest challenges we face as a charity is public misconceptions of prisoners and rehabilitation,” said Chris Moore, chief executive of the Clink Charity.

“Having this TripAdvisor feedback provides evidence we're helping people understand how important a part education and meaningful work plays in reducing reoffending rates.”

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