According to the popular review website, Tripadvisor, one of the UK top 10 restaurants as voted by members is a dining experience run by prison inmates in Cardiff, Wales.
To be exact, The Clink Restaurant in Cardiff takes the 10th position, beating out high and mighty dining establishments with Michelin star ratings, along with those run by UK celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. The 96-seat restaurant opened to the public back in 2012 and serves breakfast and lunch.
Exceptional reviews have been posted for The Clink Restaurant, which is staffed by inmates from the Cardiff and Prescoed prisons and has reportedly had a positive effect in general.
Servers are made up of 30 inmates from the prisons, who are each paid £14 (around $22) for a 40-hour week. While that might not sound like much of a salary, the restaurant has been credited with helping to slash re-offending rates in the area, with latest figures showing the rate of re-offenders who worked in The Clink declining to some 12.5 percent.
Among the reviews for the popular UK top 10 restaurant, 579 reviewers classed it as “Excellent,” with one five-star review calling the dining experience, “Absolutely phenomenal!!“
“The food and the service was superb. The vibe was excellent. Worthy of any top rated restaurant. Everything was spotlessly clean. Can’t praise it enough. Can’t wait to return.”
Another recent review reads, “Most definitely would recommend.”
“Delicious food, served promptly in an amazing setting. From the moment we were welcomed by front of house, Mark D until the moment we left our experience was superb and we will be recommending the restaurant to all our friends and family. All the serving staff were polite and courteous, it really did make our evening unique.”
Yet another read, “Phenomenal. Fully deserving of plaudits.”
“Food was great. Service even better. Fantastic experience and definitely a must visit. Great staff with a superb attitude difficult to compare to anywhere else.”
Other reviews commented on how “friendly and informative” the staff in the restaurant were in general.
— Ministry of Justice (@MoJGovUK) October 14, 2015
The Clink Restaurant in Cardiff was in lofty company on the Tripadvisor UK top 10. To give an idea of how impressive the restaurant’s achievement of making the top ratings is, take a look at the other nine winning dining establishments on the list.
The number one spot in the UK top 10 goes to Adam’s in Birmingham, where the top reviewer said that as each dish was served, it became harder for them to select their favorite and that they would gladly have each dish again that night.
Number two position goes to Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham, a two-star Michelin restaurant serving British cuisine. In place number three on the UK top 10 is, Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons, a restaurant set in a manor surrounded by beautiful gardens in Great Milton.
Fourth place goes to a “must-go” dining experience by the name of L’Enclume in Cartmel. Fifth in the line on the UK top ten was Midsummer House in the historic English university city of Cambridge, followed by Maison Bleue, a restaurant offering French cuisine in Bury St. Edmunds in sixth place.
Seventh place went to Le Gavroche in London — the first UK restaurant to be awarded one, two, and then three Michelin stars, which is no mean feat indeed and deserving of being on the UK top 10 list.
In eighth position was The Old Stampe House Restaurant in Ambleside in England’s Lake District while at number nine, Restaurant Martin Wishart in Edinburgh was a popular choice.
— HuffPost UK (@HuffPostUK) October 14, 2015
The list of the UK top 10 restaurants in the 2015 Traveler’s Choice was made using reviews on the Tripadvisor website.
A Tripadvisor spokesman, James Kay, remarked how great it was that The Clink had received such a lofty response, saying, “Given how competitive the UK restaurant industry is, the fact that The Clink Restaurant is the only winning Welsh restaurant demonstrates the incredibly high standard of food and service that the team consistently delivers to customers.”
The Clink Restaurant was also voted the top restaurant in Cardiff out of 946 restaurants in the Welsh city.
The restaurant is run by The Clink Charity, which also has restaurants at HMPs Brixton, High Down and Styal in an effort to reduce re-offending by prison inmates and offering the prisoners projects that train them, giving them practical skills to use when leaving prison. Now, that is a UK top 10 idea all on its own.
[Photos courtesy of The Clink Charity]