Food at Balliol

College Members eat together in the magnificent Hall on the main site. A buffet-style lunch and dinner is served seven days a week during term time. There are also special dining occasions, such as formal Hall on Tuesdays and guest nights.

For other options for students, see below. For conference and events catering, see this page.

Meals in the College Hall

Hall meals are subsidised by the College, and provide healthy and varied menus, including vegetarian options. Here are sample lunch and dinner menus.

It is compulsory for all students (undergraduates and graduates) living in College accommodation to pay a termly Fixed Living-in Charge of £35.77 per term; students who live out pay a reduced charge of £23.13 per term, which does not include any meals . This charge contributes towards the overheads of running the central kitchens

Meal times and menu

  • Lunch: 12.30-1.30pm
  • Dinner: 6.30-7.30pm (except on Tuesdays, when dinner is is at 6.15-7.15pm with a semi-formal Hall at 7.45pm (see the College Handbook under Tuesday Hall)

Today’s menu in Hall [College Members only: single sign-on required]

Special dietary requirements

Every day we provide a vegetarian or a vegan option at lunch and dinner. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays we offer a vegetarian and a vegan option for dinner. 

We also ensure that there is a dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free option available at each meal.

As per the allergen labelling legislation, the daily menu in Hall shows the presence in a dish of any of these 14 allergens: gluten, lupin, peanuts, nuts, milk, soya, mustard, eggs, fish, crustaceans, molluscs, sesame, celery and sulphur dioxide. 

Please note that whilst every effort is made to avoid the cross-contamination of allergenic ingredients, we cannot guarantee that our dishes are 100% allergenic free. If you have concerns about the ingredients in any dish, please ask a member of the catering team or contact our Executive Chef directly:

For special dinners (i.e. any dinner other than regular Hall), we can cater for most dietary requirements as long as we are given advance notice.

For Tuesday Hall and Parents’ Dinner, which you book online, you will have the option of adding your dietary requirements. Please ensure that you specify these when you book.

For any other formal or private dinner, you just need to give your dietary requirements to the person who is organising the meal and the information will be passed on to everyone in the catering department.

If you have any concerns about ingredients at special dinners (not regular Hall meals), please contact our Conference and Events Manager, Jacqui Gills:

Pre-payment for meals for College Members

There are two ways to pre-pay for Hall meals (i.e. buffet-style lunch or dinner; there are separate booking arrangements for special occasions). Both have the advantage of convenience over paying by cash at the till and the first method is considerably cheaper. Here are sample cash prices for College members.

The two pre-payment methods are: 1. a termly meal-deal for dinners or lunches; and 2. the option of putting money on your University Card for all meals purchased in Hall.

1. To take advantage of the College’s meal-deal for Trinity Term 2020, please visit our online payments site by Sunday of 3rd week of term (16 May 2020) at the latest. The meal-deal runs from Monday of 1st week and ends on the Sunday of 9th week (27 April to 21 June 2020). Pre-payment dinners/lunches consist of a main meal, with vegetables and potatoes, rice or noodles or a main meal plus a standard side salad; and a hot or cold dessert or a piece of fruit. The options are, for weeks 1-8 of each term: 7 dinners per week for £191.05 for the term; 5 dinners per week on any day for £153.75; 5 dinners per week Monday to Friday for £136.10; or 5 lunches per week Monday to Friday for £136.10 - which is very good value for money.  

2. To deposit money on your University Card, you should also visit our payments site and indicate the amount you wish to top up with.

You can combine a Pre-Payment Meal-Deal with a University Card deposit by visiting the payments website and selecting both options. Please note:

  • Any meal-deal or money you pay in will be added to your University Card, which you must produce at the tills in Hall. If you cannot present your card, you will be charged cash for your meal.
  • Neither method of payment includes the separate Catering Subsidy Charge which is levied on all students (see above).
  • No refund will be given on the pre-payment meal-deal; nor is the pre-payment meal-deal transferable to a following term.
  • You will be able to use your University Card in Hall from the Monday of 0th week, but meal-deals do not begin until the Monday of 1st week.  

Other options for students

  • The JCR Pantry (a café) is open to students throughout the day and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as sandwiches and snacks.
  • The Buttery in the Garden Quad serves drinks and light refreshments to any College member.
  • For graduates, there are several small self-catering kitchenettes across the Graduate Centre.

Opening times for the JCR Pantry and the Buttery are given in the College Handbook.

There is next to no self-catering for students on the main site in Broad Street. There is some self-catering in the graduate centre.