You will be serving a mystery meal dinner where the guests order from a menu, without knowing what those menu items are!  There should be much fun when the guests get their courses and find out what they actually ordered!

How it works:
You provide a menu with the foods and drinks all given different names (Code names)  These names are usually in some way related to what the food is, and the guests might have fun trying to guess them.  You could also name them to do with a particular theme, such as Halloween.

If you wish, you can include the eating utensils in the list of items to be ordered, so that guests have to try and choose those without knowing what food items they will be served.  Making for some hilarious mealtimes when someone orders soup with no spoon,  spaghetti with chopsticks, or even a meal of only cutlery and no food!

Guests need to order their entire meal for the evening at the beginning, before any of the foods have been revealed, so they have no idea what will be served.

What you serve and how you organise it is completely up to you.

To make things easier, if you number the choices then the guests can order by number rather than having to write the names down.  In the kitchen, have a list of what items the numbers correspond to.  You may also want to have a few people helping in the kitchen who aren’t dinner guests (or it will spoil their surprise).  You could make up order dockets like this for each guest to write their order on:

MysteryDinnerCard02 MysteryDinnerCard01 MysteryDinnerCard03
(Menu cards for 3, 4 or 5 food choices per course)


Serving options:
Since there are different ways people like to do this type of meal, there are some suggestions here for what you could do. Usually all dishes are to be finished before the next course is served, removing all plates and utensils before the next lot is served.

Perhaps after the final course, all guests can be offered seconds of anything they like, to help use up leftover food and ensure everyone has had their fill.
1).  Have dinner served in 3 courses, with all the items on the menu (perhaps about 20 – 30 options), available for people to choose in any course.   They select 3-5 items from the menu for each course.  Eg (Click image to enlarge/print):


This option means some people may end up with a course of only utensils, followed by a course of soup and icecream with no utensils!  So it can be a funny and unpredictable meal, but may not be filling enough for the guests, and some guests may go without a drink or utensils.


2). Have the items divided into columns – meal type foods, smaller nibbly foods, utensils and drinks/desserts. If a lot of the foods have sauces, you could add a column for those.  (The guests won’t know what the columns are related to).  They need to order 1 item from each column per course and cannot select an option more than once. Eg (Click image to enlarge/print):


Limiting it to 1 choice per column in each course means they should always have a course consisting of 1 utensil, 1 drink and 1 decent portion of food.  So the results won’t be as funny, but everyone should have enough to eat and drink.


2b).  Similar to above, but have some meal type foods options being in one list and everything else in another list – So they must pick one item from the first list, plus 2-3 choices from the second list.  Eg (Click image to enlarge/print):


This ensures everyone gets proper food each course, but other random food/drink/utensils as well.


3).  Have a number of menu items (maybe 15) and a dinner of 3 courses.  Everyone must order one of everything on the menu, choosing which course to have them served in. Eg (Click image to enlarge/print):


This gives everyone the same food, drinks and utensils, but served differently.


Examples of food to serve
If you have guests with food intolerances, you may like to mark the menu to make sure they don’t choose something they will not be able to eat, or serve only intolerant-safe foods.

Some examples of foods you could serve and the mystery names you could give them (of course this is just an example, feel free to make up your own):


  1. “Steamed Glacier” / “Farmer’s Friend” / “Universal Solvent” (Water)
  2. “Liquid Gold” (Orange Juice)
  3. “Teat Treat” (Milk)
  4. “Fresh Blood” (red fruit juice or punch)
  5. “Go-go Juice” (Coffee)
  6. “Boston’s Best” (Tea)
  7. “Warmed Beans” (Hot chocolate)
  8. “Pucker Up” (Lemonaid)


  1. “Irish Eyes” (Baked Potatoes)
  2. “Rolling Stones” (Meatballs)
  3. “Old Remedy” (Chicken Soup)
  4. “Autumn Leaves” / “Rain Forest” (Salad)
  5. “Farmer’s Alarm” (Chicken)
  6. “Golden Rods” (Spaghetti)
  7. “Roman Mixup” (Caesar Salad)
  8. “A wedding tradition” / “Jungle Lice” (Rice)
  9. “Smiles Galore” (Cheese)
  10. “A small raise” (Bread)
  11. “Bulb loaf” (Garlic bread)
  12. “Italian Tombstone” (Bread)
  13. “Cry me a river” (French Onion Soup)
  14. “Shredded Roots” (Hashbrowns)
  15. “Messy Babies” (Scrambled Eggs)
  16. “Gas & Go” (Baked beans)


  1. “Exotic Blubber” (Jelly)
  2. “Palate’s Paradise” (Cupcake)
  3. “Mud Pie” (Chocolate brownie)
  4. “Sweet 16″ (16 lollies in a bowl)
  5. “Congealed Blood” (Red Jelly)
  6. “Bulls Eye” (Mini Cherry Cheesecakes)
  7. “Perfect Coin Place” (A Mint)
  8. “Adam’s Nemesis” (Apple)
  9. “Pot Holders” (Pancakes)


  1. “Pants & Shirts” (Salad Dressing)
  2. “Solid State” / “Titanic Demise”  (Ice)
  3. “Pat Down” / “Greased Lightning” (Butter)


  1. “Elephant’s Wage” (Peanuts)
  2. “Tiny Globes of Wonder” (Peas or grapes)
  3. “Cat’s Eyes” / “Rolly Pollies” (Olives or Grapes)
  4. “Sailor’s Crumbs” / “Polly’s Delight” (Crackers)
  5. “Pucker Power” / “Green Dilemma” (Pickle/gherkin)
  6. “Bats and Balls” / “Sticks & Stones” (Carrot sticks & peas)
  7. “Wicked Breakfast” (Deviled eggs)
  8. “Round and Round” (Cucumber slices)
  9. “Colony Builder” (Ants on a log)
  10. “Earfuls” / “Just passing Through” (Corn)

Eating utensils:

  1. “Divided Branches” / “Perfect Pitch” / “Devil’s Horns” / “Two Paths” (Fork)
  2. “The Ripper’s Choice” / “Jack” (Knife)
  3. “Degreaser” / “Soaker” / “Sleepy Family” / “Lap Preserver” (Napkin)
  4. “Pine Forest” / Poisoned Dart” (Toothpick)
  5. “Cuddles” / “Silver” / “Shovel” / “Aeroplane” / “Sugar Transporter” (Spoon)
  6. “Harpoon” (chopsticks)

If you want to allow guests to select their utensils each course, you can use different names for them in each course to give them more options.