Five reasons you should skip the overcrowded hotel buffets this holiday season and host a private party at home

Photo: Stamford Catering
Photo: Stamford Catering

‘Tis the season to deck the halls, gather around the Christmas trees, and, of course, throw the annual holiday party. But with all of the city’s restaurant set menus and hotel buffets vying for diners’ attention, it can be both overwhelming and, well, kind of boring (after all, a buffet can only be so varied).

Our advice? Skip the stress of having to score a reservation weeks in advance and host a holiday party at home. And if you’re worried about the food aspect of throwing your own dinner party (the idea of cooking for 20 people also makes us feel the exact opposite of jolly), we’d like to let you in on a little secret: private catering. Our friends at Stamford Catering, for example, have released their 2022 Christmas Menu, whose multi-course meals are perfect for parties of any size and occasion, whether that’s an office shindig, a big family affair, or an overdue catch-up with your best friends. 

Still need some convincing to switch from Team Buffet to Team Catering? Here are five reasons why you should go the private catering route this year: 

Quality over quantity

You know that feeling when you get ready to dig into an expensive buffet or a fancy restaurant dish only to take the first bite and realize it’s… meh? While the large spread at buffets is expensive, sometimes the quality of the food takes a hit. Sometimes the food has been out all evening and starts tasting stale. Or the restaurant is overwhelmed and an inevitable dip in attention translates to a lackluster plate. Private catering, on the other hand, ensures that everything is freshly-made and that instead of a large choice of mediocre options, you get a smaller menu of decadent dishes. And lest you think that private catering food is “simpler” or less impressive than what you get at the big buffets, think again. Stamford’s holiday options include decadent appetizers like a honey-glazed chicken ham platter with cranberry compote and a tea-smoked chicken waldorf salad, a hearty seafood bouillabaisse or herb-roasted chicken with chestnut stuffing and cranberry for mains, and delectable desserts such as a double cocoa and orange “croissant” butter pudding.

Photo: Stamford Catering

You can choose the bundle size that’s most appropriate for your party

While most people think private catering is for big lavish affairs like an office party, there are actually options for smaller, more intimate gatherings. Stamford’s smallest “party sets,” for example, are designed for eight to 10 people and have the exact same delicious food options as their larger bundles (except you won’t have a mound of leftover food at the end of the night!). You’re also not forking out an obscene amount of money just because you’re ordering a smaller quantity — to give you an example, the Magical Party Set is priced at SGD220 per set; for a 10-person meal, this puts the price at SGD22 per person for a delicious and freshly-prepared three-course meal.

You can be mindful of everyone’s dietary restrictions and preferences

Anyone who is vegetarian or vegan or has a severe food allergy is aware of what a pain it can be to eat at a busy restaurant or large buffet where you need to wave down a waiter to ask for the specific ingredients in any dish (and hope that they have an answer). With catering dishes however you’re choosing the food beforehand, meaning you can pick and mix according to your guests’ needs. Additionally, you can ask the catering company for any allergens in advance as well as request certain minor changes. The variety of a self-curated menu also allows you to ensure there’s something for the pescetarians, the devout carnivores, the vegetarians, and the plain picky eaters.

Photo: Stamford Catering

You don’t have to just settle for a pre-designed menu

As varied as hotel buffets are, they can sometimes still be a hit-or-miss, with (as we mentioned earlier) a ‘quantity over quality’ situation. And the problem with set menus at restaurants is that they’re, well, set. In comparison, private catering allows you to curate your ideal menu. In Stamford’s Lavish holiday bundle, for instance, you can pick the beef in truffle-infused cream sauce, or opt to swap it for the braised lamb with vegetables in a saffron cream sauce. The Magical bundle allows you to pick how you want to enjoy your roasted turkey ham — penne al funghi, or with some Louisiana-style jambalaya rice. Can’t pick between catering bundles? Many places, including Stamford, also have an à la carte option. Lay out a combination of home-cooked side dishes and catered mains like a Cocoa-crusted Rack of Lamb with Chocolate and Chili Sauce or Herb Salmon Wellington with Fennel Cream Sauce, order a combination of just à la carte mains, or even opt for a few individual dishes to complement one of the menu bundles!

A more private, intimate, and just-as-beautiful dinner to remember

This is somewhat of a no-brainer, but let’s face it: a quiet dinner with your closest and most loved ones in the warmth of your own home is infinitely more special than a loud buffet dinner in a large dining room full of strangers. And just because it’s at home doesn’t mean there’ll be any less of a wow factor. Depending on how fancy of an event you’re throwing, most catering companies have the option to hire uniformed staff as well as rent chinaware at an additional cost. Stamford’s buffet spreads also come with a full buffet setup, which includes buffet tables and food warmers. And based on the season, occasion, and menu choice, there’s also the option for a thematic setup to really set the mood.

Photo: Stamford Catering

Check out Stamford Catering’s website for more information about their holiday menus, including any additional add-ons. Happy holidays, all!

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