Join the supper club: November is the perfect month to have friends over

Best in class: table settings

Let the table and chairs do the talking 

November always feels like a long month so invite some friends around for supper where the emphasis is on getting together and breaking bread rather than gourmet theatrics. Ask people to bring parts of the meal and repay your guests with a glamorous setting. If your kitchen is too poky to play host then move into the good room where you can light a fire and add or borrow chairs as needed. Pictured are Ella chairs by Jacob Foggini for Edra, €3,060 each and the matching table, €14,912, to order, from Chaplins, London.

Set the table stylishly

Helen James’s Hampton (from €6) and Evissa (from €10) already grace many supper tables while her Rego is especially popular for its ability to serve up a series of dishes in fabulously muted fashion colours that make the transition from oven-to-table. Prices for it start from €10 and it is all made in Portugal. The firm’s latest partnership is with chef Nevin Maguire whose Living cookware is about to launch and offers further choice.

Serve it up

Sambonet is an Italian brand whose lidded terracotta or cast iron interiors terracotta casserole dishes come in a slew of colours good enough to eat. The colours include sage, olive, saffron, curry, paprika, nutmeg and anise and can be ordered through Blackrock’s Trigger Fish Cook Shop. Prices for the 23.5cm, round start from €84, while the 29cm oval costs €209. The store also sells French porcelain brand Pillivuyt whose Lion’s Head tureen, €199, is a stylish way to serve warming soup or a stew at this time of the year. The matching bowls, €15.50 each for 14cm by 9cm vessels, can also be used for pies or soufflé.;

Stop the burn

If you’re serving a hearty casserole or lasagna and want to bring the dish to the dinner table then you’ll need something underneath it to stop it burning the table. An extra place mat might work, as long as it doesn’t have a plastic film, as will a ceramic or cork tile but a trivet is better again. Ferm Living’s set of three Pond trivets, €65, come in brass, pictured or a black-finished brass and will also make a gorgeous gift. Irish brand Superfolk’s solid oak design, €75, comes with a leather hook to hang it when not in use, is another option.;



Dinnerware is mining the same dark colour palette as paint and furniture finishes. Habitat’s Pablo range has exposed rims and comes in a soft grey 12-piece set, about €111 with side plates (22cm), and bowls (17.5cm) about €9.50 each, also available in black, to mix up the table and make it look less matched. Its 16-piece Turini cutlery set, about €99, comes in fashionable black or gold options, the latter looks especially smart. Nearer to home, Arnotts sells a smart bronze-effect 18-piece set from Viners, €115, down from €230.;


Nothing makes a table look more put together than warm, flattering candlelight. You can improvise using old glass yogurt pots as tea light holders or empty wine bottles still to be recycled as candlesticks. Gourds and pumpkins will also add colour and can be used well past Halloween to help dress the table. Good dinner tapers, like Danish brand Ester & Erik, €9.95 per pair, available at Avoca, are expensive but burn beautifully and make a lovely hostess gift as they come in a rainbow range of colours. Pictured is a selection of LED pillar candles and string lights from UK firm Lights 4 Fun.;

Life of simplicity

A life of simplicity is the mantra of this editorial from Zara Home and indeed keeping supper simple allows you to concentrate on spending time with your guests rather than simply serving them. Oven serving dishes, €45.99 and €22.99, currently reduced in its mid-season sale to €29.99 and €14.99 respectively, set on raffia trivets, €22.99 each, allow guests to help themselves and keeps conversation flowing. The raw-edged tableware, €9.99 for the bowl; €7.99 for the dessert plate and €9.99 for the dinner plate, will feel tactile to touch, while little extras like the cruet, €6.99, for a salad dressing and the fringed cotton napkins €5.99 each, help to dress the table as do ribbed water glasses and crystalline wine glasses, €3.99 each.

Add some colour

Add colour to make the setting look more welcoming. Abode Living stocks these charming serving dishes, part of Paris concept shop Merci’s range, that will help bring colour to the table and can be used for a variety of uses. You could serve dips in the small, about €13, soups or small individual salads in the medium, about €20, and a salad for the table, about €28.50, ex delivery from UK-based Abode Living.

Double duty

Make your stemware do double duty and (ideally) task someone else in the group with washing them to reuse. Here, Galway Crystal Erne champagne coupes, currently reduced from €39.95 to €19.95 for four at Meadows & Byrne, have been filled with a between course palate-cleanser and can return to bubble duty afterwards. The Irish chain is also selling smart acacia wood round plates, for a cheese and/or charcuterie, €75 for a set of six, and bread and dip baskets, including a rattan-weave one for €24.95. Its linen napkins in on trend colours like smoke blue and sage green are €29.70 for a set of six, and matching tablecloths are currently reduced from €69.95 to €39.95.

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in property and interiors