Staying in is the new going out. In this article, Hayley Baddiley, Global Marketing Director at tableware and ceramics brand Denby, shares her top tips for making your at-home dinner party a special and memorable occasion.
Given the current circumstances, more people are enjoying delicious meals in the comfort of their own home. With the right approach, you can replicate an elegant fine dining experience at your own table.
Here at Denby, we’ve always been firm believers in making the most of your home, so we’re in a great place to help you elevate staying in. To get you started, I’ve put together a few essential tips for making the most of your meals at home.
Eat some delicious food
Delicious food is the cornerstone of any great restaurant experience. So, if you’re a keen chef, it’s a good time to have a look through all those recipe books for a tasty option. Remember, it doesn’t have to be extravagant: if there’s a meal you know everyone will love that’s quite simple, then buy the finest ingredients and make the best version of it.
Or, if you’re missing a certain dish from your favourite restaurant, it could be worth looking at what they’ve been up to online. For instance, Nando’s and wagamama have both shared a few recipes for some of their most popular menu items, and your establishment of choice may have done something similar.
Even if you’re not a skilled chef, there’s never been a better time to learn how to cook a fantastic new dish! There are plenty of easy recipes out there to try.
If you don’t fancy cooking, you could always support a local restaurant by ordering takeaway food.
Serve up in style
With the food taken care of, the next thing to consider is how you are going to serve it up. A key part of the restaurant experience takes place before any food is eaten, and that includes how it’s presented on your plate and how it works with the context of your dining table.
Aesthetics are the reason so many foodies like to take a photo of their dish before they get started, so why not aim to serve up some Instagram-worthy dishes yourself? To do this, try to avoid overcrowding of your plate when serving and aim for an attractive mix of colours and textures. You can also add garnishes, such as parsley leaves for a finishing touch.
The tableware that you use will play a key role in how your food looks when it’s served up. So, be sure to use your favourite ceramics, cutlery, and glassware. Team them with an elegant tablecloth, some napkins, a water decanter, and a candle or centrepiece of your choice for a curated look.
If you really want to achieve an eatery experience, think about the ways in which dishes are presented in a restaurant. For instance, presenting pasta in a pasta bowl, serving sharing foods on a platter, or placing curry and rice in separate dishes so that they can be transferred over to the dinner plate at the diner’s leisure. It’s these little touches that can really help to elevate your dine-in experience.
Create a restaurant ambiance
When you picture your favourite restaurant, chances are it has beautiful surroundings that enhance the experience of dining there. While you may struggle to recreate the eclectic décor of a family-run Italian restaurant or recreate the polished look of a Michelin-starred fine-dining establishment, there are a few simple things you can do to create a nice ambiance.
First, decide whether you will be eating indoors or going al fresco in the garden. If you want to try outdoors, be sure to check the weather forecast, as you may have to adjust your plans. Whichever location you choose, take a minute to tidy up any clutter that could distract from your table. You can also drape fabric over bookshelves or side tables to disguise them.
Any good restaurant will have the perfect music and lighting for its surroundings. So, if you’re dining after dark, try to avoid any lights that are too harsh, instead opting for candles, lamps, or even fairy lights if you’re in the garden. I’d recommend choosing gentle background music or songs to suit your cuisine of choice. Set up a playlist and adjust to a comfortable volume before you sit down so you can relax and enjoy the meal.
Dining in can be a rewarding restaurant-like experience with the right planning. Follow my tips and enjoy a special evening in, all from the comfort of your own home.