Working in the city centre means I’m surrounded by options for a greedy lunch break, but I’m always excited when something a little different comes along. I’ve been watching the building work at one of my favourite neighbouring buildings, Canada House, for some time now and was thrilled to see it looked like something foodie-shaped was about to arrive. All was revealed when signs for The Clink popped up and the cafe finally opened its doors to the public this week.
The Clink is an innovative charity that runs restaurants at prisons, staffed by inmates, with the aim of aiding rehabilitation and equipping staff with valuable skills and work experience. The Manchester city centre cafe, on Chepstow Street, is the first time the charity has launched an eatery outside of prison grounds and this one is staffed by former prisoners and clients of the youth homelessness charity, Centrepoint.
The building itself is Grade II listed and a beautiful setting. The cafe is really tastefully designed, with a contemporary industrial feel and large communal tables creating an inclusive atmosphere. Even though it had only been open a few days the venue was pretty busy when we arrived, but the service was smooth and the staff were warm and welcoming.
On the menu you’ll find a selection of breakfast options, sandwiches, hot dishes and salad bowls, but the cake selection was what really took my fancy! I didn’t have time to sample them this time but I certainly will on my next visit.
Importantly, the coffee was superb. It is supplied by Redemption Roasters, based at Aylesbury Prison, where young offenders are taught barista and roasting skills. The business has a similar aim to The Clink, working to reduce reoffending rates and teaching practical skills to help prisoners find work after they re-enter the community.
You can also buy a selection of things to take home (this GS just loves a gift shop), ranging from cookbooks to tote bags and tea towels. The Clink is open Monday to Friday, from 7:30-17:30. Check it out!