Royal Ascot runs this week and if one is lucky enough to be in the Parade Ring hospitality restaurant here’s a sneak preview of the menu that’ll be served to 50,000 privileged punters over the five day meeting.
Sodexo may serve basic grub in hospitals and schools but the prestige end of its business is attuned to current trends. The coffee is fair-trade, the eggs in the sandwiches free-range and the cheeseboard has an all-British line up: Isle of Mull Cheddar, Win Green, Dunsyre Blue and Rosary Ash.
The main menu features seasonal foods, some of which have been locally sourced. Starters include dressed Cornish crab with avocado and bloody Mary ice cream, and poached English asparagus with pea panacotta and gazpacho verdi.
The seafood bouillabaisse comes with sea-salty samphire; the roast fillet of Scottish beef with a wild nettle risotto, and the double rib lamb cutlet is sprinkled with rosemary flowers. Clearly someone at Sodexo has been watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Spring.
A good bet to drink with the wild strawberry and pink champagne terrine is a rich, new rosé champagne from Bollinger (Berry Bros & Rudd, £55), six years in the making, and launched at Ascot 2008. Made from 60 per cent pinot noir it has delicate aromas of ripe red fruits.
Berry Bros: 0870 900 4300; www.bbr.com