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Christmas is the time of giving, so Julie-anne Sprague gives us all some advice on where to go and what to do for this year’s staff office party.

IF you’re not thinking about where to have your staff Christmas party you’d better get organised, now. But I’ve managed to save you a bit of research time and compiled a list of catering options for you to look in to.

I’ve been told bookings have been sluggish so, if there is a particular venue or restaurant you really love, give them a call and see if you can book for the evening or lunch period. Remember, it pays to negotiate on the reservation, especially if your crowd is going to fill the place.

If you only want to party with your staff members, and the office just won’t do, then hiring a private dining room is the way to go. Here are some tips.

Bacco: $220 to hire the upstairs private dining room, which seats up to 75 people. They will design a menu to suit your budget, so just work out how much you want to spend per head and let the Bacco team take care of the rest.

Elements: If you’re planning an evening function, make use of the expanded front area of this restaurant, located in the heart of the CBD. Elements is situated on the ground floor of the BGC building on St Georges Terrace, so make use of the restaurant and outside tapas area. Or, if there are a large number of people, make use of the large foyer area. Elements will design a menu for you if that’s what you want.

Gershwin’s (at The Hyatt): Consists of three separate areas, so hire out the Private Dining Suite, The Wine Room, The Main Dining Room or all three, depending on your numbers. There is a minimum of 12 people required for a booking and there are quite a few menus to choose from, ranging in price from $54 to $80.

Matilda Bay Restaurant: A few dates remain for the function room, which has impeccable views. Prices vary for meals but start at about $40pp upwards.

Parmelia Hilton Private Dining Room: No charge to hire the room, which adjoins the main dining area. Keep the blinds up to feel part of the restaurant or draw them down for an intimate gathering. The room seats up to 40 people for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and 70 people for a cocktail party. Menus start from $58pp.

Rendezvous: No charge for reservation of room. $50pp includes a three-course Christmas menu with a four-hour beverage package, which includes unlimited Australian sparkling wine beer, soft drink, and door prizes.

The Red Herring: Only a few mid-week dates left. No charge if you only want a section of the room but they will ask for $330 if you want the entire area, which includes the outdoor decking and seats up to 100 people. Bookings can be made for breakfast, lunch, or dinner for cocktail parties to a full sit down dinner that starts at $41.80.

The Karen Sue: A floating dining room? This vessel can seat up to 18 people and the kitchen is versatile enough that you can choose from finger food platters to a buffet to a full sit-down meal. It’s fully licensed and has a good wine list. You can choose the type of cruise and the type of menu, making this choice of Christmas function one of the most personalised around!

Remember to check out other venues such as the Art Gallery of WA, Perth Mint, Old Perth Observatory, Artisians of the Sea, Fremantle Prison, Government House Ballroom, etc and arrange a caterer to take care of the Chrissie menu.

For those of you wanting to spare such extravagance, why not celebrate in the office? You don’t even have to jazz the place up with decorations – you’ll find most caterers now offer the whole box and dice, from music to tinsel. And the great thing about caterers is you dictate what you want.

They have a whole range of menus and you pick which food your guests will love to dig in to. But if you can’t or don’t want to make the choices, leave it up to them, they’re the experts and they want to impress those attending for that important word-of-mouth sell. Among the best caterers in town are …

Accolade: Choose from their standard cocktail menu or enquire about their Christmas specials. Prices start at $15/head and the option of service staff and themed functions is available.

Beaumonde: Not only do they cater at various venues around Perth, but they will put on a great feast for your office. Owner Mark Dimmitt says they are the only caterers in Perth with refrigeration trucks, so no matter where you are in Perth or the surr-ounding regions, they can get that seafood to you at the right temperature! Menus range in prices so I suggest calling them up and getting some menus sent out. Chat to them about what you want and they’ll give you a custom-made quote.

Focus on Food: From finger food to go to gourmet dinner style catering, this company can accommodate to your individual needs. Prices range depending on menus, but you’re looking at $45 per head (including staff for 2 hours) for the dinner menu. Organic produce is also available. They do cater for themed events and even use food as part of the decorations. Such focus!

But if it’s just too much hassle or your guest list isn’t that large, then book at some of the fantastic lunches happening around the metro area.

Burswood: $95 pp, Poolside Christmas Sundowners December 8,14, 15. Christmas buffet, unlimited beverages and live entertainment.

Indiana Tea House: $47.50pp (minimum 10 people, valid December 3 to 21). A finalist in this year’s Gold Plate Seafood category, this Cottesloe icon has introduced a fresh seafood menu over the past 12 months, which makes it onto the Chrissie menu.

Matilda Bay: From November 24 until December 24 for $49pp (except Fri and Sat, $55pp). Three-course meal with options for beverage packages. Richard Hinson will be cooking up an exquisite menu, which is available for bookings of 10 or more people.

Parmelia Hilton, Parmelia Ballroom: December 8,14,15, $79pp. Three-course Christmas menu, door prizes, visit from Santa, and tunes from “Crusin Rock n Roll”. 7.30pm-midnight.

Rendezvous: The Ballroom or Harbour Suite, $95 (adults), $49 (children). Grand Buffet lunch menu and an appearance by Santa.

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