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How to Plan the Menu for your Events

When you are planning events from wedding receptions to birthday parties to christenings, one of the big questions is always what food to serve.  Here at The Plough Inn, we are a Bridgnorth pub who have our own restaurant with an extensive menu and we also offer private hire for special events.  These are some of our tips to help our customers pick what to serve at their event.

Plan the Menu for your Events

Hints for the perfect menu

If you are offering a buffet style meal rather than a sit down served meal, then think about the flavour combinations and avoid those taste clashes.  People tend to be a little excited at a buffer and grab a little of everything – so watch that you don’t serve too much food that will clash.  It never hurts to look at the colours of your dishes for the pleasing aesthetic as well.

When you think about what you want to serve, chat with the restaurant about what can physically be prepared at one time.  If you want to serve five hot dishes at the same time, can the restaurant handle this?  Or do they need to go with a smaller number and mix in some cold dishes to ensure everything is hot when served?

Make sure you can space out the dishes and that things don’t overlap.  Not only does this look nicer but it also ensures that food isn’t spilt from one dish to another and potentially spoil things or make them look messy.

Canapes or not?

Canapes are simple little extras that you can serve and forget, allowing guests to help themselves.  There are loads of ideas for these such as marinated olives, Parmesan shortbreads or tapenade on toastedcroutes and these can easily be topped up during the day.  At the other end of the event, you can serve a cheese board to allow guests to help themselves as they want.

If you do go with canapes, aim to have 6-8 per person and you can serve warm ones when the guests first arrive.  Look for things that look effective but take the minimal work especially if you are doing them yourself, so you don’t spend time messing around when your guests arrive.

Hot or cold buffet?

Some people think that a cold buffet is for summer and a warm one for winter, but this isn’t true.  You can make a mixture of hot and cold foods to get the right balance, dependingon ifeveryone is arriving at the same time or if there will be a staggered arrival (by which time hot food would be cold).

For the cold buffet think about a centrepiece like a roasted salmon or a baked ham.  Add salads that make the table look attractive including tomato and green salads, pasta salad and even potato salad.  Have cold meats, dips and crudities around the table alongside breads and breadsticks.

For hot buffets, look at a couple of one-pot dishes and a carbohydrate like rice or potatoes that can go with both.  You can go with a theme or make sure you have one that is vegetarian if you have any vegetarians coming.  Add accompaniments such as breads, cold meats, marinated olives and other extras depending on the theme.


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"Authentic English Pub in a lovely village. Great friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere. Great beer and a lovely menu."

Kevin G