Within the Houses of Parliament there are several restaurants and cafeterias, bars and a coffee bar which must cater for the hundreds of MPs and peers and all the permanent staff, security, other pass-holders and guests.
Until the 1770s, MPs had to eat outside the Estate, in taverns and restaurants in the surrounding area until Deputy Housekeeper John Bellamy developed in-house eating facilities, one of which retains his name today. The wide range of choice – not to mention subsidised prices – are one of the perks of working here, although as always, some of the restaurants are reserved for Members only.
As a staffer, the three facilities you’re most likely to use will be Bellamy’s, the Terrace and the Debate – they’re easy to get to, accessible to staff and provide a good range of cheap and tasty hot and cold food. There are several other excellent places to eat but we’ll leave you to discover them for yourselves.
Bellamy’s – 1 Parliament Street
Bellamy’s is a light and airy self-service restaurant, offering full or continental breakfast, lunch, or snacks until mid afternoon. Access is for passholders and up to two guests. Usually closed in recess. Known for extravagant decorations and themed food for Christmas, Easter, Halloween, St Patrick’s Day and assorted other festivals, as well as for its excellent curries.
You can view the opening hours and menu here: https://intranet.parliament.uk/catering-outlets/restaurants-bars/bellamys/
‘Debate’ self service restaurant – Portcullis House, ground floor
The Debate can be very busy at times but as well as excellent hot food at breakfast, lunch and dinner, it has probably the best selection of sandwiches of all the cafes on the Estate and does jacket potatoes and pasta dishes every day along with several other hot options. Access is for passholders and up to 2 guests, but guests aren’t allowed between 12 and 2pm. Usually open until the rise of the house when the Commons is sitting or until late afternoon in recess. Inexplicable preoccupation with polenta and arctic bread, and also home of the legendary jerk chicken (RIP jerk pork).
You can view the opening hours and menu here: https://intranet.parliament.uk/catering-outlets/restaurants-bars/debate/
Terrace Cafeteria – Palace of Westminster
The Terrace Cafeteria is a self-service cafeteria offering all day meals and light refreshments, with outdoor seating on the Terrace which the Speaker usually opens up to staff in recesses – perfect for those long summer recess lunch breaks. There is reserved section at the far end of the cafeteria for Members of Parliament, the rest can be used by staff. Open until the rise of the House when the Commons is sitting or late afternoon in recess. Best breakfast on the estate, and also does a good salad bar selection.
You can view the opening hours and menu here: https://intranet.parliament.uk/catering-outlets/restaurants-bars/terrace-cafeteria/
- Terrace Cafeteria Members’ Section: Members of Parliament, Peers who were former Members of Parliament with up to 3 guests. Officers, Members’ staff and Commons Staff during recesses.
- Terrace Cafeteria Strangers’ Section: All passholders with up to 2 guests, including former Members with 15 years service, retired Officers with 30 years, visiting overseas officials. Temporary pass holders without guests but not between 12:00 – 14:00.
Terrace Outdoor seating:
- Northern End – Members of Parliament, Peers who were former Members, Officers of the House of Commons without guests.
- Southern End – Members of Parliament, Peers who were former Members, Officers of the House of Commons with up to 6 guests (16 guests between 1 May to Rise of the House for summer recess in July from 10:00-13:00 Monday to Thursdays provided neither House is sitting and on Fridays from Rise of the House until 18:00).
The menus (which change daily) for all these and other locations can be found on the intranet here: https://intranet.parliament.uk/catering-outlets/restaurants-bars/