In a lovely spot overlooking the River Thames, the Leftbank Restaurant at The Runnymede on Thames has a loyal following. Buffet style dining at its best, the restaurant has an array of tempting hot and cold food on offer, as well as puddings and cheese for afters…if you can possibly fit it all in. The high-quality buffet-style dining is ideal for business visitors too. We asked Executive Chef David Coutts exactly what business delegates can expect from the experience.
Delegates tend to need to eat within a timeframe of an hour or less, so the challenge for my team is to provide a good quality lunch that can be served quickly. It also needs to suit all different tastes and dietary requirements. Providing such an extensive range of hot and cold flavours in the Leftbank has proven to be the perfect solution for our business visitors.
The most popular foods with business visitors are the large platters we create on the cold buffet, filled with interesting ingredients. This can range from a watermelon and feta platter in summer, to a chicory and pomegranate platter in winter. We also make everything from pakora to taro crisps. It’s not all exotic however, as a lot of people like foods they know and feel comfortable with. So we also do dishes such as fresh coleslaw, scotch eggs and terrines.
I’ve noticed that our business guests love hearty pies in the winter, so we’ll make things like gala pie with our perfect homemade pastry. Other popular dishes include succulent chicken and slow cooked creations. We brine all the chicken so it’s as juicy as possible for the rotisserie. We do a lot of slow cooking for the hot buffet too, such as short ribs of beef. They always go down very well.
Seasonality and special celebrations are important to us. We design new menus to make the most of food available during different seasons. We also like business delegates to enjoy different occasions throughout the year. For example, around Burns Night at the end of January, we’ll do haggis, and for St Patrick’s Day we’ll do a warming Irish stew.
People seem to especially love the cold buffet set-up. Business delegates regularly comment on how colourful, vibrant and fresh the salad, tapas and charcuterie selection is. Since we only choose hot food that is well suited to being served buffet-style, we get great comments about our selections of hot dishes as well. It’s important to us to maintain high standards and our guests seem to notice this. Some people have even described us as serving ‘the best conference lunch in the UK!’