For decades now, all-you-can-eat buffet catering has provided time-strapped Brits with variety, efficiency and value for money.

More casual than a formal sit-down meal, the buffet appears more relaxed and nonchalant to a remorseless eating machine like Homer Simpson – – but any professional caterer knows,  buffet catering is a strategic, well-prepared service that is as much about the impeccable service than the quality and freshness of the food.

Buffet Catering Beginnings

A simple system of serving food for diners to help themselves, buffet catering is a form of service à la française -that began as early as the 17th Century.

As France began to take over from the Italians as leaders of taste and fashion, publications spread throughout Europe setting a standard for cuisine and styles of dining.

A century later, French chefs were amongst the most sought-after and demanded fees that only the rich could afford.

Service à la française, or ‘service in the French style’, is originally a baroque practice of serving various dishes at the same time to counter simplicity and austerity.

Diners would help themselves from serving dishes and the French service remains largely as it is today in the form of, what we more affectionately refer to as, ‘the buffet’.

Buffet Catering Evolutions

Like most things, buffet catering is no stranger to evolution and it has seen its fair share of variation over the years but, in contrast, around the late 1800s, ‘service in the Russian style’ – Service à la russe – came into vogue.

Introduced by Russia’s ambassador to France, Alexander Kurakin – – instead of the dishes arriving at the same time, the Russian style gave preference to sequential, individual serving to benefit the retention of heat and flavour.

Even though there was an ‘English service’ at the time, whereby soup was served at one end of the table and meat was carved at the other whilst diners helped themselves with other dishes, the Russian style really caught on over here.

You could almost say that Service à la russe was the prerequisite to the all-you-can-eat buffet –

It wasn’t designed with the same, specific intentions as the fixed-price, all-consuming wish that has become synonymous with being a hobby for the gluttonous crowds of the early 90s, but it did allow everyone to taste everything.

And despite French resistance, it is the modifications of Service à la russe that have persevered in Western restaurants and make up the majority of buffet catering throughout the world today.

Although we have been introduced to simpler alternatives, the core principles of the Russian-style buffet remain.

It’s not very often that we hear any positive news coming out of Russia these days but the combination of the diners receiving hot food, the reduction of the number of condiments on the table at any given time,  and the reassurance that everyone could taste everything on offer, gave Service à la russe  a distinct advantage over the old system.

Unfortunately, despite a reduction in time spent at the table, more servants were required to deal with an increase in tableware and it was an option only the wealthy could afford.

However, service à la française required so much food to be set out, a significant amount became nothing more than a culinary display. This led to the custom of a second dinner party the following day, using what was left over for less important, second-day diners who would indignantly dine on smaller portions.

It is often said that it is typically an English practice to order drinks before a meal but, up until 1800, there were no glasses or drinks on the table at a buffet.

 If wine was required with a meal, it was necessary to beckon a footman who would bring a glass of wine or a decanter of water to the table on a salver – Whether the purpose of this service was to encourage abstemiousness or, alternatively, provide a way of pinpointing the hardened drinkers is unclear. 

Perfecting Buffet Catering

Whether serving hot dishes, an array of finger foods designed to be consumed by hand, or a Smörgåsbord –  – of predominately cold food, the essential feature of the buffet catering format is that diners can view and select preferred dishes.

The main reason why Citreus Catering thrives at buffet catering events is that it’s all about catering for the numbers. It’s about choice, quality, and a presentation that is backed by a friendly, professional service; a service that can only be perfected with experience and skill.

Skilled and experienced, our buffet catering reflects the occasion.

Buffets are popular in large or small groups, for companies, hotels, funerals, and other group settings, and here are some areas where we can help:

At the business end of Buffet Catering

With a wealth of experience and a repertoire of culinary skills, Citreus buffet catering is well-equipped and prepared for the business crowds.

Our business is skilfully preparing quality food and our corporate buffets reflect customs of age and present-day eating habits.

We cover a full range of corporate catering – – and our work continues to be a source of inspiration for other corporate catering professionals.

With an uncompromising approach to quality, Citreus Catering is the right candidate for the job when it comes to buffet catering for business.

Hot or Cot Buffet Catering

Experienced, efficient, and creative, we are never short of imagination in the kitchen when it comes to catering for hot and cold buffet catering.

Whether using fingers or forks on disposable plates or quality crockery, we’ve got a full range of catering ideas for your special occasion.

Wrapped or topped, small or large, and regardless of the occasion, the plates will be filled with flavoursome food.

From our sandwich and canape selections that are vast and diverse – covering a wide range of options such as meat, salad, vegetarian, gluten-free and seafood – to a range of pastries, pasties, pies, chillies, curries, soups, roasts and homemade desserts, we have something to suit all tastes and dietary requirements.

Funeral Buffet Catering

With discretion and sensitivity, we are here to help you celebrate life with our buffet catering for funerals –

It’s never easy but end-of-life sadly comes at short notice, and our vast experience and expertise provide the right choices for your family with sympathy and efficiency.

Catering for all dietary requirements, with a variety of options available, our flexible service adapts to the size of the gathering.

We create the right atmosphere to help you remember your loved ones, with taste on the table and calm professionalism when you need it most.

Canapé receptions for any occasion.

Citreus canapé selections are vast and diverse, covering a wide range of options and continents to put flair and flavour on the table at weddings, corporate events, outdoor festivals, funerals, birthday parties, christenings and intimate dinners.

Our canape receptions selection can take you across the ocean with flavours of the Caribbean, the taste of the middle east, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and then leave you with the sensations of Japan and Hawaii.

If you have any plans for a canape reception, at any event, regardless of the size and the occasion, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

To be able to fully deliver on our promise, as specialists in canapé receptions, we hear exactly what our clients want for their guests and we bring it to the table with mouth-watering results.

Buffet Catering for Weddings

As wedding catering professionals with a wealth of experience, we know good food and we build lasting relationships with our clients based on results. 

As we have previously touched upon, buffets are an effective solution for serving large numbers of people at once and are often part of a wedding catering service.

We are no stranger to weddings, events or buffets, so don’t be a stranger to Citreus Catering.

We provide our expert knowledge, open the mind to new taste sensations, and offer various buffet solutions to suit the ambience, the surroundings, and the guest list.

We leave you to engage with the audience as our imaginative cuisines engage the senses with flavour and flair.