Leaf’s Lunches: Magdalene

Sample the first course of The Tab’s carefully-marinated reviews of uni eating-holes. First up, Magdalene.

cafeteria canteen food grumblington Hall leaf Leaf Arbuthnot leaf's lunches lemon meringue pie lunch Magdalene


It’s time to review the places where The Tab readers actually eat: college halls, canteens, cafeterias, whatever. Where you chow down every day. This is where the magic happens (well, not quite, food being one of the exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration)…

So, look out for a bespectacled blonde who’ll rock up in your college crumbhouse sometime soon. I’ll be concentrating on my tray, eyes closed, ear plugs in to shut out any distractions (you).

How will your college fare? How sumptuous are its soups? How finger lickin’ its frites? How bouncy its baps?

Magdalene first. It was dinner. I arrived five minutes after opening time (6.30pm) with some compatriots. I was hungry as heck; I needed some grublington.

The queue was a bit of a downer, in fact I felt like I’d been slapped by a cod when I beheld its length. Moreover once I finally reached the hot plates section, the frickin’ pesto chicken had run out. Worse still, the knave in front of me got the last of the black cherry crumble. Curses!

No more pesto chicken.

And so with a leaden heart I turned to the salad bar to see what delights she might have to tantalise my wandering eye. Thank G, it was pretty scrummy – tuna, houmous, hard-boiled eggs, yum yum, although not enough to power me through my essay.

Magdalene’s Hall is pretty nice. Nice size, nice dimensions, nice people, long tables, that kind of thing. The cutlery is of the boarding-school variety, knives not sharp enough, spoons hilariously bendable.

The key to eating well in Ramsay, as it’s called, is to go for the curries, veto the soups, max out on the salad bar, and not look forward to the puddings. The trouble is that there isn’t enough variety – everything seems to run out and what’s left is pretty unappealing.

Spot the offending pie

Indeed I was jarred from happy contemplation of the wood panels by the indecent grossness of my lemon meringue pie, well, ‘pie’, but really tasteless white foam riding highlighter-yellow Cif-trying-to-be-lemon curd and spread atop a soggy sheet of PDF pastry.

And so, my overall verdict: meh. Sorry Magdalene.