As you haven't seen them for such a long time I would make the starter very casual...I find an ice breaker/ or if you know you have a lot to catch up with conversation wise a good way to go. Some of the nicest meals I've done begins with a glass of fizz and a big platter of mixed meats and nibbles with thinly sliced french bread. i make the pesto trout that I mentioned before and hummus and salami. Cooked prawns etc...the whole platter can look amazing and it starts the meal off with some fun. friends you haven't seen for a while can feel intimidated by a big formal meal and I find most people enjoy a casual approach. Friends being in the starring role and the food supporting act kinda thing.
When they come again you could really push the boat out.
Charlie mentioned the Eastern route and I think that is so nice. Also if you haven't seen them in a while they may have health issues. I remember inviting friends I hadn't seen for a few years and cooking a lovely meal but the wife forgot to tell me hubby was suffering from Diabetes since the last time we met...he hardly ate a thing and I spent the rest of the evening worrying that he was hungry!
Hope it goes well Bearman and tell us what you decide!x
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