Searcys Insider: The Searcys Ball7 December 2022
Searcys Insider – behind the scenes at parties and events at Searcys and our friends and partners. Our regular Searcys Insider column brings you closer to the heart of the action, sharing news and stories about our people, events and iconic venues across London and beyond. From history to fashion, from classic elegance to trendy pop-ups, from ballrooms to the kitchen, join us for a sneak peek inside the ever-evolving world of Searcys.
This week on Searcys Insider – The Searcys Ball
On 6th October, 116 Pall Mall has opened its doors for a magnificent ball to celebrate Searcys’ 175th Anniversary. With all the dazzle and glamour that befits such a long history, we were inspired by the Society balls of the 19th century.
First established as an events caterer in 1847, we are proud to be one of the UK’s oldest British caterers and still carry the high standard first set 175 years ago. The company is the fruit of labour of an inspired Victorian entrepreneur who saw a niche in the market of the emerging middle class to their mark life stages with events. Searcys catalogue of 1896 wrote that ‘entertaining has not only become more general, but almost one of the necessities of social life.”
Following the theme, the tables were lavishly laid with bespoke Searcys watercolour name cards by artist Lisa Lygo, and huge floral bouquets in autumnal colours filled the space with their scent. It had all the makings of a ball that would have done John Searcy proud back in the 1800s: a harpist and a string quartet from partner charity YCAT (Young Classical Artists Trust) regaled guests, while a silhouette artist and casino kept us all thoroughly entertained. Just as it would have been in John Searcy’s time, dance cards were kept and filled out, to keep track of who had asked for who’s hand in the next dance.
The menu, following suit, had all the splendour of high society events in their heyday, albeit with a more modern twist. Cured Devon sea trout ballotine, Poached langoustine and saffron rouille, Lake District organic venison and a creative Cep and truffle Wellington were a delightful mix of elegant tradition and modern creativity, followed by a show-stopping Baked Alaska with griottine cherries. This was all washed down with plenty of Searcys Champagne Blanc de Blancs – created as a limited edition for our 175th anniversary.
At the ball, we were joined by Searcys clients and friends of the brand, including Tracy Halliwell MBE, Director of Tourism, Conventions and Major Events, London & Partners, Bernard Donoghue OBE, CEO, ALVA, and Searcys partner Richard Corrigan – with the guests dancing merrily the night away.
On the night, we raised over £6,000 for Beyond Food and Hotel School, with a charity auction lots including a tour of Greyfriars vineyards with a picnic lunch and English Sparkling Wine tasting for 4 guests, a dinner at Richard Corrigan’s Bentley Oyster Bar, a night at the theatre, a Champagne afternoon tea for 2 guests at The Pump Room, Bath, followed by a tour of the Roman Baths Museum and a private booth for 6 guests at the newly relaunched St Pancras Champagne Bar by Searcys with a magnum of Searcys Champagne and seafood platters.
First known as ‘rout furnishers’ – a Victorian term for event caterers – we have been part of the fabric of London hospitality for 175 years. Searcys Society Ball is a tribute to the intrinsic values which are vital to the business today, as they were in the 19th c – the company’s consummate professionalism, the ability to reinvent oneself, and unwavering focus on service, our people and customers.
Please raise your glass to Searcys 175th birthday – and many more years to come.
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