On 6 January (Twelfth Night) Richard and his wife Gloria had lunch at “The Clink” restaurant which is in Her Majesty’s Prison High Down, in Banstead. Richard now regards this as the best restaurant within a half mile radius of Sutton South Ward.

Negotiating the website and the security checks to get a booking at this restaurant is a challenge. We tried to go before Christmas but it was full. Today the restaurant, which can seat about 60, was fairly empty. You have to turn up early, bring lots of photo ID, not have a mobile phone on you, and be prepared to pay by cheque. It is a bit of a walk from the reception area to the main gate of the prison, where, accompanied by a warder, you are taken through numerous gates that are opened before you and locked behind you, and across various internal courtyards. When you reach the restaurant it has the ambience of a good central London restaurant, and the food is superb.

The restaurant is run as a training restaurant and the prisoners so trained are helped to find jobs in catering after they leave the high security prison. Richard had a Caesar salad, some duck, and a peach desert. Gloria had soup, some beautifully presented fish, and the peach desert. No alcohol of course. All for a little over £50 for two, with an option to leave a donation for the charity, devoted to the rehabilitation of offenders.

The restaurant can be found, and a booking made, at  this address (click on “at”).

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