I recently went to Restaurant Sat Bains as part of my mum’s 60th birthday celebrations. Having never been to a Michelin Star restaurant before, I was eagerly looking forward to a unique gastronomic experience. Restaurant Sat Bains is set down a quiet road near the A52 flyover on the outskirts of Nottingham. Despite its inconspicuous location, this is one venue that truly worthy of a detour and its two Michelin Star status. Sat’s restaurant has gone from strength to strength since his venture began with the opening of the restaurant in 2005 along with his wife Amanda.
Upon arrival, we were seated in the bar area, our coats were promptly taken and we were warmly greeted by a member of their front of house team and given the drinks menu and taster menu to select our choices for lunch. There were two options to choose from when dining, a 7-course option priced at £105 per person or a more extensive 10-course option priced at £120 per person. Further to this, they offer wine pairings that are carefully matched to compliment the flavours of each dish for an added cost to the meal. Beyond this option there is a Brobdingnagian offering of drinks with wines across a variety of price ranges and tastes that emphasise, once again, the quality of the restaurant.
Before we begin to explore what would surely be an invigorating dining experience it’s worth noting that they have crafted their menus using the five tastes salt, sweet, sour, bitter and umami, which are all indicated on the menu to give you an idea of the flavours that are incorporated into each dish. Our tasting menu comprised of the following; an introduction, scallop from the Isle of Skye with tomato, strawberry and elderflower, ‘sweet’ bread/corn n’sour, steam fried potato with caviar / cream cheese and samphire, 200 day dry aged beef which was inspired by Anish Kapoor, Turnip with chilled pear / bellota 5J and a béarnaise dashi, Squab pigeon with shawarma spice, melon, feta, mint and BBQ sauce, the crossover to take the dish from savoury to sweet in a unique way, Lenton Lane which is an iconic dish inspired by the rocky road leading to the restaurant, perilla with coconut, cherry and lime and finally a conclusion a sweet and spicy dish with a unique twist.
We begin our meal with an ‘Introduction’ to NG7 2SA. A lovage based soup which had an intense celery flavour with slight undertones of lemon. There was also a cool horseradish ice cream which as with the soup was extremely smooth but this added heat without overpowering the other elements of the dish. The texture was contrasted perfectly with a sourdough cracker in the centre of the dish. This added a delicate yet crisp element to the soup. Overall, there was a contrast of flavours that worked seamlessly in unison with one another whilst the various elements of the dish combined heat and coolness in an effective and sophisticated way.
Before our next course was brought out, we were given fresh sourdough bread which they prove overnight to encourage the flavour and texture to develop. They also gave us treacle rolls, which are baked at a high temperature to caramelise the outside whilst being soft and sweet in the centre. I found that the treacle bread worked particularly well with their Lincolnshire Poacher butter which was rich and creamy and brought out the flavours of the bread as the butter is made with 4% salt. Their focus on quality and freshness was particularly evident in the scallop dish from the Isle of Skye with tomato, strawberry and elderflower. Large juicy and sweet scallops which were lightly caramelised adding further sweetness and a slight firmness to the dish. The refreshing elderflower and sweet strawberries balanced the saltiness of the scallops perfectly.
Following this was ‘sweet’ bread / corn n’sour a unique dish that yet again worked seamlessly as each element had been well thought through with the composition of the dish. Glazed veal which is sweet, rich and tender is encased inside a thin yet crispy layer of refined hazelnuts which give off a sweet aroma from the plate. The flavour is further enhanced with added savoury and bitter flavours working in balance from the celeriac, remoulade and thyme. The next course comprised of a steam fried potato with caviar / cream cheese and samphire. The twice cooked potato gives contrasting textures with the steaming of the potato creating a moist and soft centre whilst the frying crisps the outside with a golden exterior. The caviar was slightly salty with an intense fishy taste and the pop of the caviar as you bite into it fills your palette with a rich, sweet and salty taste that pairs well with the dual textures of the potato from the smooth and moist centre to its crisp and light exterior from the frying. The caviar also compliments the crisp and saltiness of the samphire whilst the cream cheese infused with chive adds a creamy richness in contrast to the strong and salty flavours of the various other elements.
As we become accustomed to such excellent and well executed dishes, we were presented next with a piece of artwork. A 200-day dry aged beef which was inspired by the art work of Anish Kapoor. Alongside this dish came a framed print of the afore mentioned artist’s work, which highlighted just how much attention to detail and skill had gone into crafting the dish to both create an accurate resemblance and piece of artwork in its own right. A plate of food with a myriad of textures and carefully selected flavours coming together brilliantly. The aged beef tartar topped with an earthy yet sweet thin layer of beetroot jelly working in perfect balance with the rich flavours of the beef. This was followed by a similarly rich yet creamy and smooth dish of turnip with chilled pear / bellota 5J and a béarnaise dashi. The turnip was tender and savoury with a subtle yet sweet taste from the pear. The parmesan cream was woody and rich as was the Iberico ham shavings. The various elements were brought together by a creamy and acidic béarnaise.
The last savoury element to the 10-course tasting menu was squab pigeon with shawarma spice, melon, feta, mint and BBQ sauce. This was a substantial plate of food that incorporated a variety of flavours. The meat from the young pigeon is aged for around a week to allow the flavour to intensify. Much of the pigeon was cooked on the BBQ adding to the range of flavours. However, the fillet was poached in butter adding a glossy and creamy flavour to the meat. All of the meat was succulent, moist and dark with a slight game flavour so it was pleasing how the dish was accompanied with a caramelised feta which was rich and sweet to match the strong flavours of the meat alongside a refreshing coriander yoghurt to cut through the flavours of the meat and pigeon offal black pudding. The dish was finely balanced by sweet and refreshing melon.
As we reached the end of our feast we moved from savoury to sweet with ‘the crossover’, which is designed to move the palate from savoury to sweet in a unique way. Two thin biscuits (that are similar in appearance to a Jammy Dodger) that have a tomato puree in the centre allow for a sweet crunch that has a savoury element also. In addition to this, is a dehydrated carrot that is coated in sherbet, the sweetness of the sherbet is enhanced by the chewiness of the dehydrated carrot in a cleverly crafted way to prepare you for the first dessert course of ‘Lenton Lane’, an iconic dish inspired by the rocky road leading to the restaurant. Light aerated chocolate which has bitter undertones as it is infused with tobacco which is a thoughtful nod to the old John Player tobacco factory that used to stand nearby in Lenton. This is paired with a crunchy honeycomb, chocolate crumble to represent the uneven road nearby by, a miso fudge adding a salty and umami flavour to contrast the sweet and bitter taste.
Following this was a perilla leaf with coconut, cherry and lime. A smooth and creamy coconut ice cream base that was delicate in flavour and topped with a perilla leaf (a type of Japanese mint) which had an aromatic and fragrant aroma. This was candied to fit in with the other sweet parts of the dish. Finally, the ‘conclusion’ a sweet and spicy dish with an unexpected twist. A box is presented with all the main ingredients of a Thai green curry. The components of a Thai green curry are infused into an ice cream which is then wrapped in candy floss. The candyfloss is a journey through multiple flavours in a sweet, spicy and yet refreshing way that draws the meal to an end in an entertaining but delicious manner.
Overall, the meal was exceptional. Not only did each of the courses have well thought flavours and textures, they were pieces of art. The food in a word was outstanding and alongside this Restaurant Sat Bains provides you with an unforgettable experience fitting of any special occasion. It is clear to see why Sat’s restaurant holds two Michelin stars and is a standout venue for Nottingham and the East Midlands for a fine dining experience. Whilst I understand that a meal of such cost might not be for everyone, I feel that for a special occasion or any food lover it’s definitely worth a visit. It may also useful to note that Restaurant Sat can be very busy so I’d recommend booking well in advance (they take bookings up to 2 calendar months in advance) to ensure your preferred time, date or dining area is available. The restaurant boasts a range of seating and together with the conservatory it can seat up to 44 guests. It is also worth noting that the largest table available seats 6 guests unless you reserve the chef’s table which can seat up to 8 people. Further to this, and although I didn’t book this option, many people have highly recommended booking the chef’s table or kitchen bench as these tables offer an exclusive insight into the inner workings of the restaurant, adding further spectacle and interest to the overall experience.
This meal was booked and paid for by myself. The review is entirely my own, honest opinion that I hope people find interesting and informative of the restaurant’s offering.
Opening times: Wednesday and Thursday 6PM till 9PM, Friday and Saturday 6PM till 9:30PM with lunch available also by booking either their chef’s table, kitchen bench and within nucleus.
Location: Lenton Lane, Nottingham, NG7 2SA
Phone number: 0115 986 6566