Food for thought: Cambridge University opens great hall to public


Cambridge University today revealed plans to open its great hall to the public for the first time in 650 years.

Diners can now eat ‘Harry Potter style’ at Corpus Christi college’s elegant dining hall in Cambridge on long candle-lit tables.

The wood-panelled inner sanctums have been exclusive to elite scholars – who dine in flowing academic gowns – since the college was founded in 1352.

But now guests without any link to academia can be served three-course meals and wines selected from the College’s private cellars by uniformed waiting staff.

Neal Robbins from the Cambridge College Supper Club, which is organising the events, said the weekly meals give unprecedented access to the world class institution.

He said: ”Never before has any ancient college given individuals among the general public regular weekly opportunities to dine in hall seated at feast tables.

”To dine here, you normally had to be connected to the College – and even then you had to have rank and special access.”

For £57.75, customers will be treated to drinks in one of the College’s reception rooms before being ushered into the main hall, which has vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows.

College staff will serve up a three seasonal courses, each with a glass of college wine and the evening will be concluded with tea or coffee.

Diners will also be treated to a brief history lesson about the college before they tuck in and will be watched by the portraits of alumni and past masters.

Chris Le-Vien, catering manager for Corpus Christi said the meals would provoke ”talking-points”.

He said: ”What we’ve tried to do with the menu is take classic dishes and give them modern twists.

”We try to create talking points around what we serve and make our food interesting and exciting.”

The Cambridge College Supper Club will run every Thursday from October 21. For more information visit or

Sample menu

Starter: Home-smoked salmon, whipped tomato and oregano oil and ceviche of fennel

Main: Peppered venison with a lasagne of braised shoulder, roasted baby vegetables and celeriac puree and chocolate

Dessert: Pressed apple terrine with cider and thyme jelly, cinnamon ice cream and hazelnut praline



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