Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham, United Kingdom

After a very impressive 40th birthday meal at Restaurant Sat Bains in April 2010, I decided that on the gourmet trip up north with Darcy and Bob, Nottingham would be a mandatory stop so that they could experience this restaurant (as well as see a bit of Nottingham where I spent 3 years of my life).

I reserved the chef’s table so that we could have a room to ourselves to chat, and also see a bit of action in the kitchen.

Our first course was mushroom soup with mushroom ketchup and powder, served with pigs head croquette cubes and the round smoked haddock fritters. The soup had a very intense pleasant mushroom flavour – it was a promising start to the meal.

The next course was the additional optional course Ham, Pea and Egg, in which the duck egg was cooked at 62 degree Celsius to give the yolk a nice gooey texture – As Darcy and Bob were from the USA, I had to explain a bit about the BBC television show Great British Menu and why they had to try this course (even though I didn’t really need to spend too much effort to persuade them – they just decided to go for it!). Darcy only needed to mutter one word to show her approval of the dish: “Gosh!”.

The scallops that followed was cooked with curry powder, chorizo, squash and muscovado. The aroma of the curry powder provided a nice accent to a dish which had a good combination of texture and flavour.

The organic salmon with pickled vegetables had a beautiful texture of the fish, and it was accompanied by a gorgeous oyster emulsion which was made up of shallots, dashi, oyster and parsley.

The Goosenargh duck liver parfait with beetroot jelly, beetroot puree, hazelnut and duck powder (made from blackened Lancashire duck skin) was beautifully presented. However, while the taste was good, it did not elevate to the same level as the presentation, and the reaction around the table was more lukewarm.

The next course was belly of pork with ham, apple and piccalilli sauce. The piccalilli provided a bold vinegar flavour but it matched well with the apple. We agreed that the dish was simply delicious – a nicely-cured slice of Hungarian ham wrapped round a tender piece of pork belly. In fact we were so impressed with the ham that we had to ask Sat for the details, and he was kindly enough to contact the friendly butcher just outside Nottingham city centre the next morning so that we could visit the shop (and bought some more food!)

The roast chicken wing with salt-baked celeriac remoulade was accompanied by a very rich flavoursome gravy – it was as close as you could get to comfort food really.

The final course before the cheese and desserts was shoulder and loin of mutton braised with caramelised onions/shallots and onion powder with caper and elderberries. The aroma of this dish was stunning, and the meat was so tender that it literally came off as soon as the knife touched it. According to Russell, the only problem with this dish was that there was not enough of it!

We decided to share the cheese platter and here’s the selection we got:

There were three dessert courses: the first one was blueberries with vanilla ice-cream, meringue and tarragon granita. It was refreshing, light and airy – an excellent start to the dessert course. In fact, Darcy who’s not a big fan of desserts commented that she could have had another plate of this quite happily.

The second dessert was chocolate with yoghurt and spiced caramel. Unforunately I found the chocolate too bitter and did not really go well with the rest of the dish.

The final course was sea buckthorn mousse with blackberries, pistachio and sea buckthorn caramel. The base was good, and the various ingredients worked well together in the dish – an absolutely lovely way to finish this rather memorable dinner.

Once again Sat Bains has managed to impress us with dishes that had beautiful aroma, looked like pieces of artwork and tasted wonderful. A restaurant that we would return again (and again)….

Address: Lenton Lane, Nottingham, NG7 2SA, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44(0)115 986 6566
Opening Hours: Lunch: Tuesday to Saturday 12:15 onwards (Chef Table only) ; Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday: 19:00-21:00

Food: 9/10
Ambience: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Total: 19/20 [Based on visit in November 2010]

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