Hall is the Oxford name for the dining room which serves both formal and informal hall. They serve three meals a day, every day, throughout term time and beyond. Eating in hall is a perfect opportunity to socialise with fellow students and catch up with your friends.
COVID-19 means some changes have been made to the usual way hall and food in college is to be run to allow for social distancing. It’s likely that meals in hall will have to be booked a day in advance and a one way system will be in place.
Breakfast: pay per item, normally less than £3, cooked breakfast available daily and unlimited toast, tea and coffee
Lunch: pay per item, normally less than £3
Informal Dinner: set meals with dessert, approx. £4.09 excluding VAT
Formal Dinner: served set meals with dessert, set price typically under £5
You can check current prices here on the College’s official website. Also note that VAT is payable on meals for guests, however, because of COVID-19 restrictions, guests are not permitted for meals served in college.
Breakfast: 8.00 am – 9.00 am (9.00 am – 9.40 am on Sunday)
Lunch: 12.30 pm – 13.30 pm
Informal Dinner: 6.15 pm – 6.45 pm (6.30 pm – 7.00 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays; we advise that you arrive at the very beginning of the dinner slot, however, or risk losing out on that delicious plate of hot food to those ahead of you in the queue…)
Formal Dinner: 7.15 pm prompt Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday
There will always be a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian choice at dinner, and at least two of the latter at lunch. The Catering Office is fully accommodating of all special dietary requirements, so long as you communicate with the staff. The catering team always issue a menu of meals for the week ahead by email to everyone at college, so you can plan well in advance.
The Kendrew Café, though doubling-up as a popular workspace, also serves a cooked lunch every day from 12:00–14:00. This always includes soup, sandwiches and paninis as well as the vegetarian and meat option. They also provide slightly more of a tuck-shop manner, with cakes, crisps and chocolate/snack bars on offer throughout the working day. A coffee-machine and vending-machine are also in operation there 24/7.
Cooking for yourself
PLEASE NOTE: Increased cleaning requirements due to COVID-19 mean the Beehive kitchens will be closed to students. Tommy White Quad kitchens should be open with increased cleaning and social distancing requirements but this may be subject to change during the term in response to the evolving situation.
There is no obligation to cook for yourself, but should you so wish there are facilities on hand to do so. All Tommy White students in first year have access to a hob, a kettle and a toaster, and a fridge in each individual’s room. A few rooms also have access to a microwave (TW8). This doesn’t stop budding chefs though as smaller kitchens are shared by only 4.
TOP TIP: at the back of your fridge there will be a swivelling knob that adjusts its temperature; if your milk is freezing or going sour much too quickly, it might be worth checking for this!
If you fancy fully embracing the Harry Potter-esque Oxford experience, rather than going to normal hall, you can go to formal hall four times a week (on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays), from 7.15 pm onwards. This usually runs no later than around 9.00 pm, and consists of three courses all consumed at the bargain price of £4.15. This is something well worth considering if you intend to have friends or family over (though bear in mind that they will pay the elevated price of £4.98 – still amazingly cheap!). You are expected to wear your academic gown to all formal dinners (though it matters little what you have on underneath). Wine can also be purchased during these meals.
Guest dinners and special meals
If looking for something even fancier you can ballot for one of the guest dinners run, generally, twice per term in hall for around £30 per person. On top of the three-course meal, a pre- and post drinks reception is also included at these black-tie events. Students mingle with their peers and with friends and family alike, frequently invited from home especially for these dazzling events.
The Buttery and paying for meals
The Buttery (the little room on your right as you enter the Hall) is where you top up your Bod Card, onto which all food is charged on a pay-as-you-go basis (simply present your card to the member of catering staff on shift behind the till). Top this up before your first paid meal at college (and whenever necessary thereafter) by handing over, in cash, the amount you desire to be added to your account. N.B. this can also be done at the bar, bursary or Kendrew Café.
Formal dinner is booked online and you must make sure to be connected to university WiFi or using the VPN otherwise the website won’t load. After accessing the meal-booking system, you will be prompted to enter your details from your bod card and a password. After logging on you may select the date of your meal, its type (i.e. vegetarian, meat option, etc.), and enter any dietary requirements, as well as reserving spots for up to 5 guests.