Homeware and ceramics brand Denby knows a thing or two about elevating staying in, Global Marketing Director, Hayley Baddiley, shares some top tips for recreating the restaurant experience at home.
The average Briton goes out to eat 63 times a year, according to CGA, but many aspects of the restaurant experience can be easily replicated at home. So here are some top tips to take your meals to the next level and create some memorable dining experiences at home with your loved ones.
Eat something delicious
It goes without saying that one of the main reasons we love dining out is the quality of the food. You do not have to be an incredible cook to create something delicious at home. There are plenty of simple recipes out there that almost anyone can perfect. Investing in fresh, high-quality ingredients can make a huge difference.
There are also lots of ingredients or seasoning tips you can use to take your dishes to the next level. For example, being more generous with butter can be an easy way to make food tastier, while cooking in stock rather than water can give added depth of flavour.
If you love going to restaurants because it encourages you to try something new, then get rifling through your cookbooks or search for new recipes online. Of course, you also have the option to order takeaway food from local eateries, you could also browse apps like Deliveroo or Uber Eats. What better way to recreate your favourite restaurant experience than by ordering in your go-to dish?
Whatever menu you decide upon, going for a minimum of three courses is a great way to create a sense of occasion. You could even consider starting with a breadbasket on the table and finishing with freshly brewed coffee or a personalised cheeseboard.
Serve in style
The first bite is in the eye, so it would be a shame to put effort into a delicious meal only to present it poorly. You'll want to plan out what tableware you'll use for each dish and how each component will be presented on the plate. Again, there are lots of simple tricks you can use to elevate your presentation:
1. Be careful not to overcrowd your plate - use height to your advantage.
2. Try to ensure a variety of colour and texture.
3. Turn out rice from a small bowl to serve it in an attractive dome shape.
4. If you have them, serve side sauces in individual jugs.
5. Slice meats like chicken breasts and steaks at a 45-degree angle.
6. Decant condiments into pretty bowls or ramekins.
7. Garnishes like parsley leaves add an elegant finishing touch.
8. Wipe any stray drips or crumbs from the edge of plates before serving.
9. To ensure that hot dishes stay hot, especially if plating up takes a little while, it's a good idea to warm up your ceramics before serving.
Create the right ambience
Another thing we love about restaurants is the ambience. Themed decor, cosy lighting, and the gentle buzz of conversation all contribute to the experience.
To create the perfect atmosphere at home, you will first need to decide where you will be dining. If the weather allows, eating outside could be a nice change. Whatever you decide, try to clear away any clutter. Draping fabrics can be a great way to disguise bookshelves or form room partitions.
Make sure to set the table in advance with polished cutlery and wine glasses, as well as napkins and coasters. Water glasses and a jug won't go amiss, either. An unscented candle is a must, while a small plant or vase of flowers will make a great centrepiece.
If you are eating after dark, you will need to make sure you can see what you are eating without feeling like you are under spotlights. Lamps and fairy lights are a fantastic way to light up a room while maintaining the right ambience.
It is also a good idea to play some music. Prepare a playlist that fits the theme (flamenco music alongside tapas, for example), making sure it is long enough that you won't have to find a new one midway through your main course, and keep your speaker at a relatively low volume so you can still hold a conversation and are not overwhelmed by loud music.
Finally, make sure that everyone at the table is dressed for the occasion. Getting ready to go out can form part of the experience as much as the dining itself and is a great way to get into the right mood. It is easy to become lazy when eating in, and so dressing for an occasion can instantly boost your mood.
Are you searching for your dream home to spend quality time with loved ones? Contact your local Fine & Country office today.