I met up with my friend EJ on the train to Ascot where we studied The Racing Post, picking who we hoped would be the winning horses.
Hoping the pot of gold was at the end of the rainbow…
We started the day off with a wonderful selection of canapés, (most of which I photographed terribly) including; Foie Gras Rocher, Salmon Mi Cut, Cornish Crab and Garden Pea Pannacotta, washed down with a glass or two of Bollinger champagne.
After canapés, our delicious starters arrived; a dish devised by Michelin starred chef Atul Kutcher. His pan fried sea bass with beet mash and turmeric coconut sauce was incredibly light despite the bold flavours and numerous aspects of the dish.
Next up was the course I was particularly looking forward to, the Treacle cured fillet of beef with chips and bearnaise sauce from Tom Kerridge. I’ve been trying to get a table at the Hand and Flowers, Tom Kerridge’s double Michelin starred pub in Marlow for a while, so I was incredibly excited to get to eat Tom’s course, as well as trying his famous Hand and Flowers chips. They were amazing- slightly sweet and crispy but with enough soft potato hiding within the fried shell. Yum.
You might recognise him from The Great British Menu over the years, his main course won in both 2010 and 2011. He is cooking this Summer in a new kitchen at Ascot called ‘On 5’, although at £800 a head, sadly I don’t think I’ll be booking a table there anytime soon.
Just after our main courses, we watched the first of the day’s races. EJ and I had planned to pool our bets, placing £5 on a horse to win, and £2.50 each way (so if it comes in first, second or third). Because there were only 4 runners in the first race, we actually ended up placing £5 on two horses to win- and earned £7.50 in winnings!
Obviously we celebrated our win, (despite not actually covering our cost) with an amazingly indulgent dessert from Steve Golding- head chef at the Parade Ring restaurant at Ascot. He produced a ‘After Eight’ style pudding; mint and chocolate variations, peppermint sorbet, and chocolate and mint gels.
The next two races EJ and I did particularly well with our horse choices. We decided to back our own choices rather than going with the recommendations from the expert that had come to speak to us during lunch. We backed O’Faolains Boy and Restless Harry and both won their races! Kerching!
Certainly not the sort of hat that race goers will be wearing at Royal Ascot!
If you’re planning on visiting Royal Ascot this year, but don’t have the cash to spend eating at one of the bespoke restaurants, you don’t have to miss out on an incredible spread. Smart Catering are hosting a Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Party within the Royal Ascot Race Village. It all tasted as good as it looked, particularly the apple marshmallows and apple candy floss!
Overall EJ and I finished our day about £15 up, a good haul but we won’t be giving up our day jobs anytime soon. It was a brilliant day out, with a ridiculous spread of food. If you haven’t been to Ascot, I highly recommend it as a fun day out, regardless of whether you’re there to spend big. Tickets to Royal Ascot start at £20, with plenty of dining options to suit all budgets. I’m hoping that Tom and I will get to spend at day at Royal Ascot this year, although I have a feeling we’ll be bringing our own M and S picnic!