We joined chef Phil Howard at his Chelsea restaurant Elystan Street to try out his menu for his third Royal Ascot. What’s in store this year? Read on to find out
This is your third year in residence. Why do you keep coming back to Royal Ascot?
It’s one of the most prestigious sporting events in the calendar to be involved with, full stop. It’s not an easy one, though: it’s very busy, service starts early, and there are a lot of people to serve. All these factors make it a challenge, so going back year-on-year means you keep getting better at it.
It’s one of the most prestigious sporting events to be involved with, full stop. It’s not an easy one, though
What’s on the menu this year?
For the first time we are doing a choice of two cold starters. The first is a white almond gazpacho with cucumbers and gooseberries to give it an English twist. The second is a Dorset beef tartare with salt baked beetroot, truffle, and crispy shallots.
As for the mains, we’ve got sea trout with crushed jersey royal potatoes, lemon verbena, crab, and asparagus while the second choice will be using lamb, which will be in peak season. This is followed by a cheese course and then a peach, strawberry and elderflower fool. Of course, there’ll be a classic afternoon tea too.
What’s your favourite ingredient?
Generally speaking it would be an onion. It’s the beginning of all good things.
Where’s the best hospitality you’ve experienced?
At Grosvenor House where they host The Cateys. At Elystan Street, the busiest time of the year is in the lead up to Christmas when we do 1,000 covers in a week. When you sit down to a meal where they’ve managed the same amount in one go (which they did), you walk out with complete respect for what they’ve achieved.
What do you think of the Ascot dress code changing to stipulate that men must wear socks?
I’m a great endorser of tradition. Of course, you have to move with the times but if you were to take all the top hats and dresses away at somewhere like Royal Ascot , then you wouldn’t have the same event anymore.
If you were to take all the top hats and dresses away, then you wouldn’t have the same event anymore
If you could have any chef cook alongside you at Ascot who would it be?
Magnus Nilsson from Fäviken. I’ve eaten at his restaurant a couple times and got to know him a little bit. He’s given me the greatest eating experience in my life and he’s a great guy too.
Phil Howard will be cooking in On5
in the Queen Anne Enclosure on the fifth floor of the grandstand. Fine-dining and hospitality packages across everything Ascot offers start from £269pp.