Friday, 6 November 2015

Restaurant Sat Bains

We've been wanting to go to Restaurant Sat Bains since the early days of Great British Menu when we witnessed him make an amazing slow cooked egg and pea dish.  That's a long time and such prolonged anticipation has a tendency to let expectations creep up sky high. Fortunately, Mr Bains and team were more than good enough to match them.

As one might expect for a two Michelin star venue, this is not an experience that comes cheap but they do excellent midweek packages which are well worth checking out - we got the ten course tasting menu, (comfortable) bed and (delicious) breakfast for £170 per person and there are cheaper options available.  I promise you it's worth it.

I'm not sure how regularly the menu changes but, judging by the seasonality of some of the ingredients and dishes, I would guess fairly regularly.  One thing that seems to be a fixture, and which almost justifies the trip alone was...


...yep, the bread.  Specifically the black treacle bread.  This stuff was absolutely amazing.  It was so good that we broke one of our cardinal rules and accepted a second round (usually we exercise restraint to prevent getting overfull before the meal proper has begun).  We tried to get the recipe, first from our waiter and next from the chef himself (as a birthday treat they kindly arranged a kitchen visit).  We even asked Mrs Bains who checked us out the next morning.  All in vain - it is such a closely guarded secret that he even left it out of his recipe book.  Sob.

Of course, one of the joys of tasting menus is that you end up trying dishes that you would never have ordered had it been on the a la carte.  One such dish in this instance ended up being the highlight of the evening, even for stalwart carnivore D and that was the kohlrabi "tagliatelle" with glasshouse pesto.  The spiralised turnip, was lightly cooked so as to be tender with a hint of peppery crunch, the herby pesto, created at the table, was rich with garlic and olive oil and underneath it all was a velvet hit of umami from delicate Parmesan cream.  Oh so good.  We are buying a spiraliser.

Also worthy of note was something called chicken liver muesli.  Yes, as weird as it sounds.  Yes, absolutely delicious.  I'm not even going to try to convince you - this has to be tasted to be believed.

Chicken liver
Top dessert marks go to the "Chocolate, mandarin, cardamom" dish.  The only way I can convey the sense of it is to say it is like the best Aero bar you could possibly imagine.  It is the thing that an Aero dreams of being; a light airy, melting thing that no sooner have you taken a bite then it is gone leaving your mouth coated with unbelievable flavour.  Superlative.

But really, there wasn't a duff note.  D was unsure about the miso fudge which was provided as a palate cleanser but it was certainly interesting.  Everything, including service and wine, was impeccably judged.

This is just the sort of food that some people purport to hate.  It has twiddles and fiddles and the menu lists components rather than naming dishes; the portions are small and precisely plated, there are smears and techniques a plenty.  But when this sort of food is done properly, by a true master of his craft, it is exciting and fun and a celebration of creativity and artistry, not to mention a pleasure and a privilege to scoff.  We may have waited a long time to go to Restaurant Sat Bains, but it was utterly worth the wait - and we certainly won't leave it so long to make a return trip.

Meeting the man himself
Restaurant Sat Bains
Lenton Lane
0115 986 6566

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree with you, we went a few years ago and stayed over too and it was amazing! I'm glad you enjoyed x