Make sure your 2013 office Christmas party is one to remember…

It’s the annual corporate exhale, the climax of the office social calendar, the fuel for an entire year’s worth of gossip and anecdotes. Yes, it’s the work Christmas do. HR departments and office managers the country over are on high alert right about now, trying to hit upon some inspiration for a Christmas party to top the last one – or at least one that isn’t a home-by-ten-thirty washout.

The basic ingredients of a successful office Christmas party are, of course, good food and flowing drinks, which leaves a lot of scope for imagination. Here are our top festive dos with a difference.

Strand palace daawat

Stuff the Bird

Yes we all like a good roast joint, and yes turkey is a nice treat, but a less-than-generous plate of poultry will get you zero points for creativity and is likely to render 2013’s Christmas feast rather forgettable. Why not do something a little different and inject some spice into the evening’s itinerary?

Daawat Indian restaurant in London’s West End, for example, is offering a fiery festive feast, guaranteed to banish the December chills. Available for groups of up to 140, the Christmas party package includes three courses of authentic South Asian cuisine, with starters such as methi murgh kebab, mains like lamb rogan josh, and desserts along the lines of triple chocolate Bavarois (vegetarian and milder alternatives are also available).

After dinner, Daawat has another treat up its sleeve; the team will organise guest-list entry for the whole clan to one of London’s most in-demand party venues. So, once you’re all fired up after your meal, you can dance the rest of the night away in style.
Find out more by emailing christmas@strandpalacehotel.co.uk or calling 020 7379 4737.

Sophie's Cookery School Christmas Party

Christmas Cookalong

Well, Gordon Ramsay seemed to enjoy his live cookalong last year – and if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for us. Sophie’s Cookery School is an Oxford-based company that offers fantastic Cook Your Own Christmas Party packages. Don’t worry – cooking is far from a chore here. Upon entry, a glass of something cold and fizzy will be thrust into your hand as you’re led over to a spread of winter-spiced cheeses to nibble. Once you’ve had your fill of cheese, Prosecco and office gossip, it’s time to get cracking in the kitchen, under the guidance of the friendly team.

After a couple of hours of gastronomic activity, you’ll no doubt have worked up a bit of an appetite and be ready to tuck into your very own festive feast. Sophie offers a handful of different menus to choose from, so as well as all the traditional fare like turkey ballotine, mince pies and Christmas pudding, there are Italian, Scandinavian and finger-food alternatives. There are cooking schools all over the UK so check out what festivities your local ones are offering. This is guaranteed to be more fun than standing in the corner of a function room with a room-temperature glass of Buck’s Fizz…

Christmas Party with City Cruises

Christmas Cruise

Good food instantly transforms into great food when you’re enjoying it while drifting down the river onboard your own party boat. If there’s a waterway near you, we’re willing to bet there’s someone offering Christmas parties on it. City Cruises, for instance, have a whole fleet of floating venues and can offer a range of bespoke packages and events for enjoyment on the Thames.

Let’s set the scene for you: it is early evening in London and you and all your colleagues are kicking off the party with a drink onboard your own private vessel. Soon enough, it’s anchors aweigh and you begin to drift down the Thames, taking in all the city scenery from an entirely new perspective. Getting chilly? No problem, it’s time to go inside and be seated for your three-course meal. The likes of oak-smoked Scottish salmon will be served up before roast turkey with all the trimmings and a trio of sumptuous desserts. No sooner have you finished your meal than the DJ takes to the deck(s) and dancing shoes are donned – the rest of the cruise is spent enjoying the party and making the most of the onboard bar. Visit the City Cruises website or call on 020 77 400 400 for more info.

Christmas Catering by Eclectic Catering, Oates & Musson and Signature Catering

Baby it’s Cold Outside

You don’t necessarily have to leave the office to have a decent party; event caterers can bring the culinary goods to you. But what about the drinks, I hear you cry? Well, just clear out all the old long-forgotten-about lunches from the office fridge, et voila, you have yourself a mini bar. Remember how much fun end-of-term parties were at school, where you’d push all the desks to the sides of the room, hit play on the tape deck and spend the rest of the afternoon engaged in party games and having dance-offs in the reading corner? That can all be recreated, but with the welcome substitution of mini sausage rolls with top-quality canapés and the finest finger food. This way, you can save money on the venue and spend more on the all-important food and drink. Everyone’s a winner. Perhaps give Eclectic Catering in London, Oates & Musson in Somerset or Signature Catering in Hampshire a go.

Tip: forward this link to your manager to increase your chances of a decent do this year…

Also, don’t forget to check out our advent calendar to see what foodie treat hides behind today’s door…

Food & Drink Guides

Food & Drink Guides

Food & Drink Guides is the UK's largest publisher of regional restaurants guides. Find over 13,000 reviews on our website www.foodanddrinkguides.co.uk

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