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Chelsea Monthly’s Taste guide of what to expect at Royal Ascot 2015


Chelsea Monthly was invited to Ascot to take part in a preview of what will become the epitome of  Fine Dining at Royal Ascot 2015 . The new project will be headlined by twice Michelin starred chefs, Michael Caines and Phil Howard who will each host a restaurant on all five days of the Royal Meeting next year. Michael Caines was mentored by Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire and is now Executive Chef at Gidleigh Park. He will be serving his distinctive modern European cuisine in ‘On5’, Ascot’s multimillion pound restaurant that opened to excellent reviews at the Royal Meeting in 2014. Phil Howard, co-owner of the Square and winner of Great British Menu in 2012 will bring his love of home grown ingredients to create a spectacular menu in the Panoramic Restaurant.

Michael Caines said, “Ascot is renowned for its excellent Fine Dining and wonderful service and Royal Ascot as one of Britain’s most prestigious sporting and social occasions. It’s an amazing venue and I am very proud to be a part of this year’s event. I hope my passion for cooking combined with the unique surroundings and added flair of the experience I bring from Gidleigh Park will create an unforgettable day for my guests.”

whilst Phil Howard added: “I came to Royal Ascot for the first time in 2014, as a guest, and was bowled over by what a unique and truly spectacular occasion it is. I’m really looking forward to being a part of this year’s event, from the kitchen this time, and using my interest in British ingredients to create a stunning menu to match the spectacle of a day at Royal Ascot. We have been growing our own vegetables within the grounds of Fulham Palace for a year now and using them at The Square is something I am very proud of.   I am greatly looking forward to bringing them to the Royal Meeting next year”.

and what a spectacular event it was. Sadly, the horses we backed came second but as food, ambience and excitement . It was certainly second to none.

35,000 guests enjoy Fine Dining at Royal Ascot every year, attracted by the combination of internationally revered Chefs, innovative menus and the unique spectacle of the Royal Meeting. There are 12 restaurants to choose from, each with their own individual flavour. The broad range ensures there is a choice to suit all tastes and budgets for both private and corporate guests. Excluding On5 and the Panoramic Restaurant, menus for the most part are designed by Ascot’s award-winning Executive Chef, Steve Golding who was recently a runner-up for the 2014 Catey’s Chef of the Year.

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.

Private Boxes are also available where guests can enjoy a champagne reception, four course menu and private service in their own private space. A selection of menus are offered designed by Ascot’s Executive Chef, Steve Golding and catering partner, Rhubarb.

In all of Ascot’s restaurants and Private Boxes, an award-winning Royal Ascot blend of loose leaf tea is served as part of the traditional Royal Ascot Afternoon Tea. The bespoke blend was created in 2014 by world-renowned tea connoisseur Henrietta Lovell, owner of the Rare Tea Company.

Juliet Slot, Commercial Director of Ascot Racecourse, said: ‘‘Royal Ascot sits at the heart of the British summer season and offers a unique occasion for all our customers.  We take aspire to offer the very best in Fine Dining experience set against the backdrop of some of the best racing in the world.  Whether it is your first time, or a regular occasion, we aim to make the day unique; a special occasion whether it be a private booking or corporate. Guests at Royal Ascot 2015 can savour the delights of world-renowned chefs including Michael Caines and Phil Howard. We are also delighted to be working closely with several prestigious catering partners including Sodexo and Smart, with menus designed by Angela Hartnett. We believe that everyone should be able to experience fresh, delicious and innovative food at Royal Ascot whatever their budget.  We continue to refine our product range based on feedback from our customers to ensure Royal Ascot is a must-attend event every year and always delivers over the standard that they expect.”

Fine Dining has always been an important ingredient of the Royal Ascot experience, with a total of 330 chefs, and 12 private dining facilities. During the five day event in 2014 2,400 kilos of whole sirloin beef, 3,700 rumps of lamb and 2,900 Scottish lobsters were served. A further 51,000 bottles of champagne, 125,000 glasses of Pimms and 45,000 Afternoon Teas were consumed.

 For Royal Ascot 2015 Champagne Bollinger will have two exclusive bars in the Royal Enclosure Gardens and the Bollinger Lounge on the Motivator Lawn. Champagne Bollinger is also available at all bars throughout the racecourse and during the Royal Meeting there will be a specially created Bollinger Champagne afternoon tea.

Royal Ascot 2015 is set to be bigger and even better than 2014. So, there has never been a better time to start planning now and who knows you might even be so lucky to bag yourself the winning horse!