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5 Tips For a Winning Group Menu

Whether you’re entertaining and cooking for a group of friends or relatives at home or hosting a private celebration or a corporate dinner at a restaurant, the menu is always going to be a big influence on the success of your event. Get it right and there’ll be lovely compliments, free flowing conversation and a relaxed atmosphere. Get it wrong and… well, you don’t want the menu and the food to be the elephant in the room!

Bang Restaurant is well known as one of the best places to go for group and private dining in Dublin. One reason it’s such a favourite is the thought and process Phil Yeung our head chef, uses when creating his group menus. I asked Phil what he thought were the most important considerations.

1. Seasonal menus

Lots of foods are available year round but keep in mind the time of year and what foods are in season and always try to include some seasonal dishes on the menu. Consider rich meaty game in winter like venison or pheasant. Spring favourites include lovely flavoursome young lamb and and fresh minty garden peas. Summer offer lots of choice with fresh crab, salads, fruits or  lovely ripe juicy tomatoes for pasta sauces and try  to make some use of  cold water oysters in early autumn or later seasonal squash and pumpkins.

2. Best ingredients

Always use the very best ingredients possible that you can afford. The quality of the ingredients will always show through in dishes. Seasonal items that are locally produced will generally offer the best price but you must also find the best quality producers. Use organic foods if possible and try to avoid mass produced and especially genetically engineered food. The difference in taste is amazing.

3. Crowd-pleasers

In the Bang kitchen, Phil will always include an item that everyone is likely to like. Not everyone is adventurous with food so a very popular menu item like a nice rib-eye steak is always a good idea . At home, you may not be offering a choice for the main course so consider your guest list carefully and try to take all tastes into consideration. A crowd-pleaser may be the way to go!

4. Keep it simple

At Bang, Phil makes sure group menus are structured so dishes can be produced quickly and expertly with the focus on balance, taste and quality. Keep it simple- let the taste of the food shine through, don’t repeat the same food item too much. Choose dishes where most of the components can be prepared beforehand and carefully consider the amount of last minute work required in any given dish. You don’t want to miss your own party!

5. Finish with Chocolate

You can never really go wrong with a lovely chocolate dessert on the menu. Even if your main dessert is something different entirely, a little nibble of chocolate is always most welcome.