It was the 10/10 awarded on Great British Menu that intrigued us at first. Sat Bains’ way of cooking eggs was new to us at the time – cooked in a water bath at a steady 60 degrees for some unfeasibly long length of time. After that we followed Sat’s appearances with interest. One day we’ll go to his restaurant we said. On a whim I decided to book a table for Mr EF’s birthday. Then I realised quite how far it was from Edinburgh – six hours drive – and booked a room too.
Nottingham may not be the first place you’d think of going to for the weekend or indeed to eat at a starred restaurant. When we came off the motorway into an industrial estate we wondered where on earth we were going to! Following a road signed to the golf club led us to Restaurant Sat Bains with rooms. It might have once been stables, now it’s converted into comfortable bedrooms many with a private patio. To reach the restaurant, you walk through an interior courtyard into a dark bar which opens out into a bright conservatory set with tables.
The colour palette is brown, cream and beige. The clientele were variedly dressed befitting a night out or a day at the beach (see my other post on this point).
The man himself was in Singapore that weekend, but the meal was ably presented by his team – all ten courses. We had the chance to visit the kitchen later to hear about all the myriad gadgets they use to create the menu.
The level of service from the staff – all well briefed by Amanda Bains – friendly and knowledgeable.
The food: celebrating salt, sweet, sour, bitter and umami (the 5th taste) all the courses were coded with one or more of the of flavours. The ingredients were enhanced by the use of new techniques and methods of cooking definitely not just to show off the kit. The flavours were subtle, well judged and simply delicious
Would we return – definitely! Here’s the menu with a few photos to illustrate some of the courses.
Pre- starters: Pigshead croquette, smoked mackerel. Lovage soup with crispy rice. Treacle bread, stout bread
Scallops – elderflower, grapefruit, nuts, seeds, shoots and vanilla sauce
Mackerel, lettuce, horseradish: The fish was presented in two ways, cured and cooked, almost like a pate with crispy pork cubes
Duck liver – beetroot ketchup, gingerbread: Our favourite dish, beetroot jelly, beetroot cubes, ketchup, duck parfait
Epicure 1897 – smoked roe, sea vegetables: Featuring a heritage potato dating back to 1897 from Carrolls
Leek – brown butter, hazelnut, shallot: Our least favourite dish, browned shallot, soft leek
Roe deer – celeriac, Stilton, pear, Szechuan: Superb meat, a little less Stilton and it would have been perfect
The crossover: Fig, parmesan and pine nut ice cream, the bridge between savoury and sweet courses
Apple – lemon, chamomile: Almost like a muesli, very refreshing
Olive oil – chocolate, flowers: An amazing chocolate “crisp bread”, actually mouse dried very slowly.
Strawberries – tarragon, anise, marshmallow: Two types of meringues and granita.