Brunch ideas and how to set a brunch menu

We are talking about brunch today! I am sharing brunch ideas on how to plan a brunch, how to set a brunch menu, basically all things how to host a brunch, particularly a buffet brunch.

Step 1 – What time is brunch?

So you have decided to host a brunch, first things first, what time is brunch? Brunch is known to fall between 10:00am and 2:00pm. This applies to  private brunches of course, not restaurants. I know some restaurants that will have brunch going on till 4:00pm. So decide what time to host your brunch before you send out your invites.

A good brunch idea is to allow for enough time to do any last minute prep on the morning of the brunch, so do not ask people to turn up at 8:00am. 8:00am is more suited to champagne breakfast.

Also, keep in mind that most people want to sleep in on Saturday mornings, and those that do not sleep maybe go to the gym early in the morning, or whatever it is people want to do with their early weekend mornings.

The ideal time to host a brunch for me is from 10:00am onwards. How long guests stay is up to you, but account for at least 4 hours. Personally, I like my guests to stay all afternoon long, so we can relax and have a beautiful relaxed Saturday.

Step 2 – Making a brunch menu

Setting a brunch menu is where the fun begins for me! For my Saturday brunch 2 days ago, I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to serve, largely based on my own preferences, and what I like to eat for breakfast/brunch and also from my frequent hotel stays. To plan your brunch menu, do as I did.

  • Take out your notepad and make a list of food items you would like to serve at the brunch
  • Divide the list into three: breakfast items, lunch items, and drinks.
  • If you would like to have alcoholic drinks too, divide the drinks column further into two.

Here are some items you can serve under breakfast items.

  • Eggs – you can have more than one type of eggs, and can get very creative with these. For my brunch this Saturday, I made what I call bacon egg muffins. Everybody loved them, they were a hit! I am going to be putting up my recipe for this  soon and link it here. So if you read this before I do that, be sure to check back for it soon! The point here is, eggs do not have to be ordinary and boring.
  • Cereal – I do not mean just simple cornflakes. Have some muesli, this can go well nicely with the next item below.
  • Yoghurt
  • Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Almond nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, raisins, the like. These go well with yoghurt too.
  • French toast – this was a hit with my guests too, many of whom had not tried it before.
  • Bacon
  • Baked beans
  • Regular toast
  • Jam – have several types
  • Fruit – I like to have grapes, pineapple, mangoes, apples.
  • Pastries – I served macaroons, cinnamon rolls, and cream cheese danishes.
  • Milk
  • Tea
  • Coffee

For lunch items, I thought about a light lunch. Personally, I prefer to have a hot lunch so I made sure to include an item I would enjoy (baked Irish potatoes). I also kept in mind that my guests are used to having a cold Scandinavian lunch, and that this is still brunch so it is best to go easy on the lunch items and not go full blown with hot lunch items.

Here is a list of lunch items you can serve at brunch.

  • Cold cuts and a cheese board. Chorizo, ham
  • Smoked salmon
  • Mushrooms
  • Baked Irish potatoes (recipe to come soon too)
  • Garden salad

If you think this is a lot of food to have, I agree! However, setting a brunch menu depends on the number of people you are hosting to brunch. You can also take some inspiration from my brunch Pinterest board here.

What drinks to serve at the brunch?

Breakfast drinks like juice are a must to serve at brunch. Have more than one type of juice: orange juice, apple juice, cocktail juice. Have fun with it.

Wine, Prosecco and Champagne are all good to serve at a brunch.

In Norway, culturally, it is polite (and a must, pretty much) to take your own alcohol to parties because alcohol is so expensive in Norway. My husband and I like our guests to be at ease so we tend to serve some wine/prosecco/champagne but because guests know the cost of alcohol (and because Scnadinavians drink a lot! Haha) they tend to bring some alcohol too, to supplement what the hosts prepared, and to make sure they have enough to keep their party mood going.

Step 3 – Executing the brunch

Here is where hosting a brunch can get stressful, but it does not have to! You have already done a lot of the hard work. Here are some steps that will make hosting your brunch a whole lot easier.

  1. Prep ahead as much as you can
    • Prep, prep, prep! I can’t stress this enough.Hosting a brunch does not have to be stressful. Whatever you can prepare the day before, do it and get it out of the way. If you will be baking, prep the dough and baking pans the night before. Some food items can be cooked the night before, and warmed the day of the brunch. Try to make the morning of the brunch as light for yourself as you can.
  2. Make a serving plan
    • Make sure you have a good number of serving dishes to take everything you are planning to serve. You want your brunch set up to look beautiful so it would look a lot better if you had proper serving dishes instead of serving your food out of pans.
    • I think a buffet brunch is easier for most people to host. Everything is in one place, and guests can serve themselves. Guests can decide what they want to eat and it is less stressful for you. So, you can relax and have a lovely time too.
    • Prepare the table the night before, and lay out the serving dishes you will be using. Lay out plates, cups, glasses, cutlery, ladles and napkins.
  3. Prepare and serve
    • It is the morning of the brunch and it is now time to turn your attention to the food that needs to be prepared the morning of the brunch.
    • You should prepare last the items that you want to be warm when you start serving so that you are not warming everything.
    • Using beautiful casserole dishes as serving dishes will make it easier to warm food then put it directly back on the table without changing from pan to dish. Of course you need to protect your table with heat-proof pan mats.
  4. Welcome your guests, and enjoy your brunch!

You are now a brunch maven!


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