Words by Bryony Hawkins

Back in November, the university started offering £2 hot meals every day at Eat Central as a way to help students with their living expenses. Students and staff have access to this offer, providing they present their university ID card. When I first saw the email that was issued to all Sussex students, I could not believe what I was seeing! It is possible that the email has gotten lost in some inboxes as many people are still unaware of this change. As a result, I am here to report on it and provide my judgement on whether or not it will enrich student life and provide assistance during the current financial crisis we are in. 

For those who are unfamiliar, Eat Central is the university’s cafeteria and is located on the first floor of Bramber House, directly across from the Co-operative supermarket. Eat Central is the largest restaurant at the University of Sussex, which serves hot and cold breakfast favourites in addition to a variety of international street foods and traditional meals during lunch and evening. Their menu changes daily which is what attracts a variety of customers throughout the day and it is a great place to eat with friends too when everyone likes different options. Eat Central is open from 9-7:30pm on weekdays but closed on weekends. This information can be found on the university’s website along with additional details about dining options on campus. 

So how does it work? Well, the cafeteria offers two options for hot meals and you can choose either, and as long as you show your student card, you can purchase the lunch for its cheaper price. I think it is a pretty good deal, considering the meals offered have a source of protein as well as veggies or side salad in addition. 

When I tried out the experience myself, I had a choice of falafel and flatbread with mint yoghurt or a Donburi rice bowl. Being quite a fan of Japanese cuisine, I chose the Donburi rice bowl mostly because it reminded me of a Wagamama’s dish. Overall, the meal was quite tasty and I received a decent sized portion. I do regret not asking for extra sauce, as it was a bit more on the drier side. However, for only £2 I would definitely return to try out the different dishes they have on offer. 

Whilst eating my meal, I started asking the people on nearby tables what they thought of the dishes and this £2 concept and was met with mostly positive feedback. Upon talking to others and getting their perspectives, I realised a £2 hot meal five times a week meant that students could save £10 which could potentially be much cheaper than buying your own groceries. It also eliminates the need for daily cooking which can be quite tiring after a long day of lectures and studying. Who would not take advantage of the chance to catch up with friends for lunch between classes if you can all afford it and it is for some nice food? Therefore, this option offers a time efficient and convenient way to eat healthy and so I would absolutely recommend it if you are looking for an easy and cheap lunch/evening meal!

Photo by Bryony Hawkins

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