The racing season is upon us! Royal Ascot begins today: expect five days of world class racing, pageantry, fashion and fine dining. Speaking of which Haute Time has the low-on the capital’s restaurants and bars that racing enthusiasts will want to gallop to before or after a trip to Royal Ascot Racecourse
To celebrate Royal Ascot, twice Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar - from the much loved Mayfair restaurant Benares -has created a beautifully designed hat inspired dessert that’s definitely worth ditching the bikini diet for. The Raspberry and white chocolate galette served with a brandy snap hat, vanilla and vodka quenelle works especially well when paired with The Royal cocktail (champagne with a Pimm’s foam). But be quick: the dessert is available until the end of June while the cocktail is available only until the 22 June
2 The Permit Room, Dishroom
Dishroom’s cocktail bar is dedicated to serving tipples recalling the days before Independence, such as Flips, Fizzes, Gimlets, Sours, Old-Fashioneds, a Bombay Presidency Punch (devised from a recipe written down by the Governor of the East India Company, General Sir John Gayer) and last but by no means least: juleps (the main drink at the Kentucky Derby aka a major horse racing event). There are six juleps (typically made with bourbon or rye whiskey, sugar, mint and crushed ice) to choose from but seeing as you’re in the capital and all, it would be a shame not to order the London julep. It's served in a classic copper cup.
3 The Running Horse
Established in 1738, The Running Horse is the oldest public house and kitchen in Mayfair. Menu highlights include the Chopped burger with jockey whips (chips) and a selection of pies. Pleasingly all ingredients have been sourced from some of the UK’s best independent food and drink producers, ensuring a wholly British experience. Owners James Chase (of the award-winning Chase distillery) and Dominic Jacobs (former bar director at Sketch) who took over the pub in Autumn 2013 have done their homework here and it shows: gold star.
4 The Whip
We’re huge fans of this high end horse themed bar near Bond Street. Horse racing racing memorabilia adorns the walls - there’s even a whip from the 1914 Grand National above the bar! But it’s not just the decor that elates - so too do the drinks. Juleps ( the main drink at the Kentucky Derby aka a major horse racing event) are a big deal here. There are six variations to choose from but Haute Time recommends ordering The Whip julep - a refreshing combination of dry gin and rhubarb infused vodka. Chin chin!
34 has become a modern classic since it opened in November 2011. Glossy Grosvenor Square residents and workers alike flock here for head chef Paul Brown’s beef, seasonal game, fish and shellfish dishes. But it’s also a good bet for racing enthusiasts: the restaurant is staging a ‘Hats Off To The Racing Season’ exhibition. Honouring the most striking accessory of any paddock, enclosure or grandstand, the exhibition compromises a stunning display of the beautiful crafted hats, artfully presented within 34‘s Edwardian style windows. Don’t miss David Shilling’s ‘Divinely Delicious’ creation for men. Shilling believes that men will soon be wearing his creations - which take several months to make and cost thousands of pounds- outside of Ascot. Thanks to hat wearing stars such as Pharrell Williams, David Beckham and Johnny Depp, men “are up for trying these extravagant hats and at the right party, it can work,” says Shilling.