DiningRecreate the restaurant experience at home

Follow these simple steps to discover why delicious dining doesn’t have to mean going out

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If you are missing the feeling of choosing from a mouth-watering menu, while sitting back and soaking up the atmosphere of a buzzing restaurant, help is at hand. With our eating-at-home guide you can, with a little extra effort, transform your dining room into a culinary destination. Here's how.

 

Choose a cuisine

If the contents of your fridge have left you feeling a little uninspired, it’s time to give your recipe repertoire a refresh. Reach for cookbooks or search for recipes online to help you come up with a menu, and remember that having a certain cuisine in mind can help ensure every plate complements each other perfectly. For example, we keep the focus firmly on traditional southeast Asian dishes at Jumeirah Al Qasr’s Pai Thai, while French flavours rule the dining room of Al Muntaha in the soaring Burj Al Arab.

Cooking a meal from a recipe book

At the same time, think about whether you will serve three courses or place a number of larger dishes in the middle of the table to share. Perhaps most importantly, remember that while an ambitious menu might look impressive, it needs to be achievable. Consider what elements you could make in advance and don’t try anything too complicated without having a practice run first.

 

Get your table dressed

If eating at home every evening has resulted in some bad habits, now’s the time to turn off the television and swap the sofa for a chair at a beautifully laid dining table. Place settings, a decorative centrepiece and flower arrangements are a great way to communicate your at-home restaurant’s theme or cuisine, as is the music you choose to accompany your menu.

Flower centrepiece for a dining table

Flickering candles or twinkling fairy lights add an intimate atmosphere to an evening meal, while brunch or lunch is best served with plenty of natural light and an upbeat playlist. And as one of the great things about eating out is the effortless way in which everything you need simply comes to you, avoid making too many trips back and forth to the kitchen. Place a water bottle, salt and pepper holders, bread and any condiments that might be required on the table.

 

It’s in the little touches

Linen napkins, fine bone china dinnerware, crystal champagne glasses – it doesn’t matter if it’s a normal weekday evening. Dusting off your extra-special cutlery and crockery will add a sense of occasion to your at-home restaurant. And when looking for ways to bring the eating-out experience into your home, why not dig out kitchenware and serving accessories that might not usually get much use? A tiered cake stand immediately adds a fancy flourish to an afternoon tea break, while a lavish picnic hamper could be packed with gourmet sandwiches and transported into the garden for an alfresco lunch.

The setting for an outdoor meal

 

Ask everyone to be involved

Just as you make sure your table is dressed to impress, changing into a special outfit – and request friends and family do the same. It will make the meal feel even more special. Similarly, restaurants need more than one person to make the dining experience a success, so designate tasks to members of your household where possible. You might not get many volunteers when it comes to assigning the washing up, but young children will likely thrive on the opportunity to draw up personalised place cards and illustrated menus. Teenagers can take orders and, before you know it, you’ll have a hungry front-of-house team to help you ensure the meal runs smoothly.

Cooking a meal at home