Clink Café is a very special coffee shop in Manchester. Not only it looks amazing, as you can see from the pictures, but their ethos and story is very impressive. Clink is run by a charity with a very noble aim, as is stated on their website: “The Clink Charity’s aim is to reduce reoffending through the training and rehabilitation of prisoners“. This is something I feel strongly about, as, for me, the current prison system doesn’t offer many chances of rehabilitation. Given the chance, people can change, but they need that all important chance.
Clink Café is the only coffee shop they have. Besides this one, there are also restaurants associated with a few prisons. There, offenders can learn a skill and have the opportunity to get a job after they leave the prison. The café is slightly different, as the people that work here are already out. Some of the workers might be ex-homeless people, as they have a partnership with homeless charities.
At the restaurants, the prisoners work full-time (40 hours a week) towards getting their qualifications. The data is great, as reoffending declined almost 50% for the people taking this course. All the prisoners that take part are volunteers. You can read more about what they do on their website.
Now, let’s talk about Clink Café in Manchester. It’s in Canada House and the place is gorgeous and very clean. If you walk in without knowing their story or realising that in their logo, the coffee bean is a fingerprint, you wouldn’t know it was run by a charity.
Their menu is great too, with plenty of options for meat-eater, vegetarians, and vegans alike. We had a look and ordered our coffees and lunch. We arrived a bit early for lunch, so I was able to take a few pictures before more people arrived. At lunch time is quite busy. I wouldn’t have been able to take these pictures, as all the tables were filled with customers.
My husband ordered coffee, but didn’t say anything about the milk. So, he was asked if we want vegan milk, as both of our lunches were vegan. He said yes and we got vegan milk (can’t remember which one though).
We’ve waited a short while for our coffees to arrive. The food didn’t take long after that. I should mention that the prices are for staying in, and is cheaper for eating out.
I liked the idea of the Mushroom, avocado, kale & vegan garlic mayonnaise, at £3.75. We ended up sharing, so I can talk about both dishes. It came with vegan coleslaw (for us, they have standard coleslaw if you are not ordering a vegan dish) and salad.
Firstly, the mushroom was cooked perfectly; I loved this sandwich. I would gladly eat it again.
My husband liked the sound of the Vegan BBQ Jackfruit pulled ‘pork’, at £4.50. This too came with the coleslaw and salad. It was really good as well. The sauce was lovely, a bit sour, the jackfruit was a bit sweet. This is another dish I would gladly have again.
Lastly, I should talk about the staff. The ladies there were so friendly, all smiling, and helpful. As I said, they asked about the milk for the coffee. We received our coffee and lunch fast and it was very well cooked. It’s a place I will visit again, both for the food and to support this amazing charity.
If you want to work from there, that is possible too. They have free wi-fi and plenty of sockets to power your laptops. A few people were working from there. I will also visit their restaurants when I have the chance.
The Clink Cafe is in Canada House, 3 Chepstow Street, Manchester, M1 5FW. At the moment, the opening hours are 7.30am – 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.