[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ir Stirling Moss OBE, last week, officially opened a new seafood restaurant and cocktail bar at the Royal Automobile Club’s Woodcote Park clubhouse in Epsom. Leading a cavalcade of classic Jaguars, Sir Stirling made a spectacular entrance down the Captain’s Drive to the delight of members and guests.
Sir Stirling led the procession in a Jaguar XK120, the same model he drove on the eve of his 21st birthday, when he won the Royal Automobile Club International Tourist Trophy on the Dundrod circuit in Northern Ireland. During 1951 and 1961 Stirling won the race a further six times. Also taking part in the parade was the Jaguar C-type commemorating his win in 1951 and the famous long nose D-type which won the 12-hour race at Reims in 1956.
Historically, there are few racing drivers whose success extends to every category of motor sport. Sir Stirling Moss OBE can lay claim to that accolade. In 1955 he raced to victory in the British Grand Prix at Aintree, the Mille Miglia and the Targo Florio. The Club’s new destination restaurant was truly inspired by the life and tastes of Sir Stirling, featuring classic seafood dishes and his signature cocktails.
Sir Stirling and his wife, Lady Moss, played an integral role in developing the menus. Sir Stirling said: “I have been eating at the Club for over 60 years and this new restaurant reflects my love of seafood, the appreciation of lavish surroundings and attentive service”. He went on to say that, “the restaurant has a wonderful ambience and will make for a truly great dining experience”.
Sir Stirling has had a long and fruitful relationship with the Royal Automobile Club. In 1954 he was given honorary life membership and Club Chairman, Tom Purves, said it was imperative that the new restaurant truly encapsulated the spirit of Sir Stirling. ‘We had a lot to live up to. I hope that members will enjoy Stirling’s as much as we have enjoyed trying to create something special, something memorable, in the name of our most famous, most heralded, most loved member. A true racer and a fine gentleman.’
The Club’s Executive Head Chef, Philip Corrick, commented: ‘We developed dishes inspired by discussions I had with Sir Stirling, and by the many achievements he is credited with. Monaco is his favourite destination, which had a huge influence on the menu. One of the signature dishes is Ravioli Mille Miglia, a seafood ravioli with lobster sauce.’
Because of Sir Stirling’s close relationship with Goodwood, all the meat and dairy produce in the restaurant is from Goodwood Estates Home Farm and the focus is on the best of British food. Sir Stirling and Lady Moss also lent inspiration to the signature cocktails on offer. The ‘No.7’, a modern twist on the classic Champagne cocktail, takes its name from Sir Stirling’s favourite race car number and is mixed with his favourite ingredients. ‘Stirling’s Moss’ is a long and refreshing drink that gets its vibrant hue from locally-sourced fresh ingredients and is inspired by the Woodcote racing green colour.
Also on display in the restaurant was a range of iconic and personal artefacts from Stirling’s private collection including the original steering wheel from his dramatic crash at Goodwood, navigator Denis Jenkinson’s pace notes from the triumphant Mille Miglia win in 1955, plus Sir Stirling’s racing gloves, boots, trophies and other significant memorabilia.
The event concluded with a special presentation to Sir Stirling and a birthday cake to celebrate his 87th birthday (17 September).