So, you were out with the girlfriends and ending up making a promise – one that has you cursing that fourth glass of wine and glaring into your ever-empty pantry. Yep, despite scratching your head at scrambled eggs and always flame-grilling the toasted sandwiches, you’ve managed to invite twenty guests to an all-out dinner party. Whoops.
If your kitchen’s stocked with more restaurant menus than actual provisions, we suggest quitting while you’re ahead (and still in possession of an intact kitchen) and faking it ‘til you don’t make it with a few helpful spots that will do the hard part for you. All you have to do is choose the wine!
Want a dinner party with some Italian flavour but even boiling spaghetti is beyond your kitchen abilities? Just gnocchi on Aquila’s door and ask them for help! With a few of their favourite pizzas and pastas available vacuum sealed and ready to heat up at home, no one will ever know you’re an impasta – your guests will all be too busy tucking into sand crab lasagne, wild mushroom risotto or a cheesy five cheese pizza! Pre-order from the menu before 3pm, or just stop by the venue and see what’s at the counter.
When the only items in your pantry are baking soda (when did we even buy that?) and inhuman amounts of chocolate, it’s a sign to outsource your entire menu. Raid Pamela’s Pantry for your next event and your dining table will be groaning under plates of beef lasagna, cheesy potato bake, and family-sized pies, all ready to whack in the oven just in time for your guests to arrive. Just try not to burn anything, ok?
Botanica | Red Hill & Teneriffe
Handy hint: it takes more than a few leaves of iceberg lettuce to wow your guests. Leave the vegperts (that’s veggie experts, FYI) to the job with hefty takeaway boxes from Botanica’s salad cabinet. We just hope you have the skills to grill up a few steaks to go with them – otherwise you might have to hit up Jackalope as well (our next pick).
Need somewhere that will just take care of absolutely everything, from the whole roast chook to the wholesome side salads and even some baked goods to finish? Just head over to Loaded Food Co and beg them for assistance (or offer cash – either works). They’ll even sort out a slow cooked brisket and have it ready and waiting for you to take home and put on the table – if you can bear to share it.
Who needs saucy dinner gossip when you’ve got Jackalope’s pulled pork and beef brisket? Find these guys at Jan Power’s Farmers Market before the big day for ready-to-eat serves of their slow-cooked wonders. Fair warning: you’ll be visiting them every weekend after friends start flooding your schedule with dinner requests.
Sure, you can dream of dinner parties filled to the brim with Jocelyn’s piping hot lamb and rosemary pies and tongue-tingling empanadas, but the reality is (if you’re anything like us), you’re going to end up walking out with tiers upon tiers of cakes slathered in cream cheese, and absolutely no regrets. Dessert for dinner is a thing, right?
You may have to craftily invent a year abroad in Tuscany, but it’s all worth it for a sneaky pre-party stop at Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers. With takeaway bowls of those little potato parcels from heaven topped in bolognaise, slow cooked duck ragu, and wild mushroom and truffle sauce, try not to let the other guests notice how speechless you are at your own cooking.
Hey, anything beats dimming the lights in an attempt to convince guests that those ‘homemade burgers’ are your McSpecialty.
Words by Samantha Chariton