The Arbuturian were delighted to attend a preview of the fine dining offering at Royal Ascot 2016 on Chase Day earlier this month. The reception took place at the Panoramic Restaurant where guests were welcomed with a glass of Bollinger Special Cuvée and canapés by Rhubarb, followed by a three course menu designed and presented by Raymond Blanc OBE, Chef Patron of the two Michelin star Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, alongside Phil Howard co-owner of the two Michelin star The Square in central London, and Ascot Racecourse’s own executive head chef Gemma Amor.
Raymond Blanc, who is to host the Panoramic Restaurant during Royal Ascot and will be advising on menu design, staff training and overall service, not only gave an amusing speech about having once taken inspiration from a lady’s hat, but prepared a succulent and refreshing starter of confit salmon with cucumber ribbons, cauliflower and horseradish crème fraîche. This was followed by Gemma Amor’s main of (perfectly pink) spring lamb with carrot purée, baby carrots, artichoke, smoked ricotta, grelot onion and lamb jus. And Phil Howard, who will be hosting Ascot’s On5 restaurant for the second year running, gave us a seductive dessert of strawberries, lemon verbena and Brillat Savarin; a delicious finale inspired by the glorious British summer ahead.
A great way to not only highlight the Michelin-star level of cuisine available throughout the world-renowned royal meeting, but the overall experience of a day out at Ascot – we later enjoyed a full day of racing, with former jockey Colin Brown on hand to give us insider tips and escort us to the parade ring to view the horses prior to the opening race, I only wish that I hadn’t already placed my bets as he clearly knows more than I do! We ended the day with a traditional afternoon tea, an excellent way to commiserate over our losses.
With 12 restaurants to choose from, each with their own individual flavour, around 35,000 guests enjoy fine dining at Royal Ascot every year, attracted by the combination of internationally revered chefs, well balanced menus which highlight seasonal British ingredients, and the unique spectacle of the Royal Meeting itself. Last year’s five day event around 2,400 kilos of whole sirloin beef, 3,700 rumps of lamb and 2,900 Scottish lobsters were served and a further 51,000 bottles of champagne, 125,000 glasses of Pimms and 45,000 afternoon teas were consumed.
This year’s Royal Ascot will take place from Tuesday 14th June – Saturday 18th June. Restaurants include:
· The Parade Ring. Ascot’s most prestigious restaurant with views overlooking the Parade Ring and its own private trackside viewing area. Guests will be served a stunning five course lunch followed by afternoon tea. Each course will be paired with champagnes by Royal Ascot’s Official Champagne partner, Champagne Bollinger.
· Trackside. Right at the centre of the activity and popular with racing purists, Trackside has a 40m balcony running adjacent to the track. Guests will be served a four course menu with ingredients sourced from the Crown Estate.
· Windsor Forest. An intimate setting considered by regulars as one of the hidden gems of the Royal Meeting. The Windsor Forest directly overlooks the Winning Post.
· Carriages. Named after the historic landaus of the Royal Procession, Carriages is a stately restaurant on the upper floor of a luxury marquee with a light and airy interior and stunning head on views down the final straight from its own viewing balcony.
· Sandringham. Sandringham occupies the lower level of the same luxury marquee as Carriages. Taking its name from Her Majesty’s Royal Estate, the interior is inspired by the orchards the Sandringham Estate is well known for.
· Royal Ascot Village. Ascot’s take on British eccentricity – the Royal Ascot Village is located on the Heath near to the track and looking back towards the Grandstand. Guests will be greeted with a Pimms No.1 Reception, served a four course lunch followed by a ‘Mad Hatter’s’ afternoon tea and enjoy live music and pop up entertainment throughout the afternoon.
· Ascot Pavilion. With a private balcony overlooking the Plaza Lawns and traditional singing around the Bandstand, the Pavilion is the place to soak up the atmosphere at Royal Ascot and watch racegoers pass by in their finery.
· Old Paddock. An intimate restaurant over-looking the pre-parade ring and just a short walk from the Grandstand.
For further information please visit the website.