Everyday meals

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided as self-service meals, purchased through the Servery, in the Dining Hall. Formal Halls, organised in the evening during Term, are more formal meals with table service, and form part of the tradition of dining in College.

The Servery is open seven days a week but will traditionally close for two weeks during the Summer vacation, and for the week between Christmas and New Year. During this time light snacks and drinks remain available from the cafe.

A plant-based option is available at every meal, and the Catering team do their best to accommodate all dietary requests.

The Servery menu and prices are published online and displayed on the Catering notice board in The Rayne Building. Charges depend on the items selected.

All meals are subsidised by College funds for members, so guest and visitor meals are charged at a higher rate.

The College uses an EPOS system (Electronic Point of Sale), operated by your University Card.  The tills are located at the end of the Servery. You will be invoiced via your College account for food consumed by you and any guests at the end of each month.

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Etiquette & Dress Code

Other than at Formal Halls, dining at Darwin is an informal, social occasion. Fellows and College Officers eat with students and staff, fostering a sense of community across the membership.

There is no dress code for normal lunch and dinner service. However the standard of dress should be reasonable, as College guests may be hosted in the Hall at any mealtime. For example, beach footwear, sports clothing, and hats or caps are never appropriate items to be worn in the Dining Hall during meals.

Conversation should be kept at a reasonable volume, avoiding the need for anyone to shout. College members are expected to act with respect and courtesy towards other diners and staff.

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Formal Halls

Formal dinners are served on most Wednesdays and Fridays during full term.

You can book your place at a Formal through Upay, available in an app or desktop version. Please follow the instructions in the information book to register. Alumni should contact the Development Office who may make bookings on your behalf.

In addition to yourself, you are permitted to book places for up to three guests using the online booking system (except on especially busy evenings such as Burns Night or the Christmas Formal Halls, when only one guest is permitted). If you wish to bring additional guests, please apply to the Catering Manager for permission.

Full names of all guests must be supplied in the online booking system. Any dietary requirements must also be added to your online booking – the Kitchens work from this list and it is the member’s responsibility to ensure the booking has been made correctly. Please note that you cannot bring your own wine to Formal Halls. Wine must be purchased through the Upay account at the time of booking.

Formal Halls are held in the Dining Hall for a maximum of 120 guests. A drinks reception is held from 7pm with dinner at 7.30pm. Dinner is announced by the sound of the College gong, after which diners follow the senior member present to the dining area. Diners remain standing by their seat until after the College Grace has been said.

You may cancel or amend your booking at any time up until 2pm on the day before your meal. After that time your payment will not normally be refunded.

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Formal Hall Etiquette

By definition, Formal Halls are formal meals, often used for the entertainment of special College guests. As such they are governed by certain guidelines, customs, and rules set out to ensure all College members enjoy the occasion. Failure to observe these guidelines, customs, and rules may result in the individual(s) being asked to leave the Dinner.

Each College member is responsible for hosting their guests and for their behaviour, for introducing them to the Master or Presiding Fellow, for ensuring that they are aware of the dress code, informing them of the customs and procedures, and for guiding them through the evening. Therefore you are not permitted to ask other College members to book guests into Formal Hall on your behalf.

All guests attending Formal Hall must be accompanied by the host who made the booking. Any guest who is not accompanied by a Darwin member will not be allowed to dine.

Diners should arrive in good time for the pre-dinner reception.  At 7.30pm the College gong will announce dinner. The Master or senior member and their guests will enter the Dining Hall first followed by the rest of the diners. Members and their guests should not delay in moving into Hall once called.

On being called to table, diners remain standing behind their seats. The gong will be sounded and once those present are silent, The Master (or deputy) will give the College Grace. At the end of the meal, the gong will again sound and all diners stand for Grace and the departure of the Master or Deputy.

Diners should leave the Hall reasonably quickly after the gong has sounded to allow the catering staff to clear the Hall. Coffee and port will be available in a post-dinner reception room.

As these dinners are more formal than normal meals, it is expected that members and guests will remain seated throughout. It is not usual to leave the table during the meal unless you feel unwell. If you do need to leave at any point, you should exit the room, and return if recovered, as discreetly as possible. Please note that this dispensation is not intended to be used for taking cigarette breaks.

The use of electronic equipment is not allowed in the Hall. Please ensure that your and your guests’ mobile phones are switched off before entering the Hall.  Conversation should be kept at a reasonable volume, avoiding the need for anyone to shout.

Photos may be taken after the Master or Deputy has left the table at the conclusion of dinner. Diners are expected to show respect for guests, other diners and staff. The Butler on duty has been instructed to ask any member or guests exhibiting unsociable or unacceptable behaviour to leave the room.

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Formal Hall Dress Code

There is a dress code at all formal dinners, defined without reference to gender identity or expression. At Formal Halls and Supervisors’ Evenings this is a lounge suit/jacket with a tie or appropriate equivalent attire. College Members, and guests who are members of the University, are encouraged to wear gowns. Persons wearing a shirt without a jacket and tie, or appearing in jeans, training shoes, beach footwear, and/or hats or caps, will be refused entry. If you are unsure of the requirements, please consult the Catering Manager before the event.

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Guest Nights

Guest Nights are special occasions to which College members and students are able to invite non-College members to dinner. A tasting menu is served. These are normally held once a term – dates can be found on the College Calendar.

As this is a special formal occasion, the dress code is a dinner jacket/black tie (or dark suit with a tie), or the appropriate equivalent. College members are expected to wear academic gowns.

Bookings for Guest Nights are administered by the Catering Department.

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Supervisors’ Evenings

These are held periodically, in the Michaelmas, Lent and (if required) Easter terms. Groups of supervisors are invited to join their students, and others, for dinner, following which coffee, wine and dessert are served in the Richard King Room. Bookings for Supervisors’ Evenings are administered by the Deanery.

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Catering Department payments (Upay registration)


Upay is an online booking system for the purchase of Formal Hall tickets. You will need to register an account before you are able to make a booking.

Note that this facility is available to current Darwin members only. If you are an alumnus of the College please contact the Development Office to make a Formal Hall booking.

Please note that in order to set up an account you will need the Affiliate ID along with your unique user ID.


If you do not know the user ID, please refer to your last statement which will have your account details on it.

Mobile Apps

The UpayChilli website is mobile-friendly but you can also download a mobile app. Please note that in order to synch the app with Raven you should first:

• Download the appropriate app. Do not register yet.Image removed.Image removed.

• Go to the UpayChilli website  in your mobile browser. Enter your Raven authentication and then launch the app for the first time using the “Load UpayChilli App” button. The app will then be linked to your Raven credentials for future use.

For further information on UpayChilli please refer to the Upay User Guide & FAQ available online at

Then follow the details below:

  • Once these details have been obtained, click on the link above for UpayChilli;
  • You will be asked to confirm a Raven affiliate terms and conditions, please confirm;
  • Click ‘Yes or No’ to remain logged in on the device you are registering from;
  • Click ‘Return to Log In’;
  • Click ‘ Register My UpayChilli Account’;
  • In the next page, you will be prompted to enter the Affiliate ID ‘DARWINKITCHENS’ ;
  • You will then be asked for your user id, please use the account code from your Catering Meals Statement
  • You will the be asked for your email address – please use your @cam.ac.uk address

Once you have completed these steps an email will be sent to you confirming your user account details.

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