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What Serveware Do You Really Need?


There is usually a disparity between the size of one’s personal serveware collection and the pieces that actually make it to the dining table. Be honest. How many times have you used that elaborate cake stand? Or that oversized bowl that was meant to be perfect for a big salad or a curry?


We often think we need more serveware than we really do until we start culling our collection and realise how many pieces are true necessities. But whether you are curating a new collection or paring down an existing one, ask yourself these two questions before starting out – what kind of food do I regularly make and how many people are usually seated around my table?

The snappy list below will then help determine how many basics and what extras should be part of your serveware collection.

Hotel White Serving Plate

 Hotel White Serving Plate

The Essentials

  • Basic Serving Plate. If dinners are often made up of a meat and salad dish then keep the platter collection to a minimum of two. For larger families who love a small spread or who entertain often, that collection can be expanded to a maximum of five platters in different shapes and sizes. Use an oval platter for big meat dishes or roasted vegetables, and a square platter for serving dessert.


  • Basic Serving Bowls. These are most essential and versatile serveware. The small ones are great for soups, the midsized ones are perfect for rice, pasta or a leafy salad, and the large ones are suitable for a main dish of mixed pasta or grain salad. Alternatively, use the midsized bowl to serve artisan bread or gourmet biscuits, or as a fresh fruit bowl.


  • Crystal Pitcher. Not only does it look beautiful on the dining table but it also saves you the trouble of getting up to refill glasses in the kitchen. Turn up the sophistication at more formal dinner parties by adding a wine decanter.

  • Serving utensils. The core serving utensils are a pair of salad tongs, serving spoons and serving forks. Dessert lovers should also include pie and cake servers. For cheese enthusiasts, a set of cheese knives is indispensible.

  • Condiment sets: A pair of classic salt and pepper shakers add that final touch of elegance to any well set table.

The Extras

  • Specialty Bowls. Do soups make regular debuts at the table? Then a soup tureen would be a good investment. This large, lidded serving dish has a notch on the rim that allows a ladle to rest inside while still keeping the soup covered and warm.

  • Specialty Trays. Serving slices of bread on a long and narrow tray not only makes it visually appealing but also easy to pass down the table. Get a divided tray for finger food like olives and pickles, and give that bowl of chips a gourmet touch with a chip and dip platter.

  • Gravy boat. These oblong dishes that sometimes come with a lid are essentials for holiday gatherings especially if turkey is a Christmas staple.

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