Slow cooked lambMore pictures
As the second part of my big birthday food trip we made the short trip from Birmingham to Nottingham for a couple of nights at Restaurant Sat Baines (with rooms). Similar to Purnell’s the night before I had seen Sat cook in numerous Great British Menu heats and even though we’re coming close to 2 months since we dined (don’t blame me, I’m getting old) the flavours remain as vivid in my mind now as they did in the days after. And again we were treated to some outstanding dishes.
A lot of things about Sat’s is rather different to pretty much all other places I’ve dined. First off the location; down a lane off a round-about in outer Nottingham and past a golf course (note it’s NOT the first turning as we thought it might be). It’s very much off the beaten track and for anyone wishing to visit I think the only way to experience it is by staying the night; this is further fueled by the fact that there are just 2 menus to sample (10 and 7 course offerings with not one course crossing over) and leaving without going for both would have felt like a bit of a waste, especially when the food is this good.
Whether you’re a fan of seafood, meat, vegetables or puddings there are courses to get you excited. Even though the menu reads rather simply the cooking is really anything but and full of creative spark and presented to look like works of art. Put simply as ‘scallop’ what is actually produced are two perfectly cooked slivers of meat, one topped with a tomato and strawberry ‘salsa’, the other covered with sea vegetables sitting on a smooth elderflower hinted mayonnaise type dressing. The two toppings brought out totally different tastes from the shell fish and as a dish (considering this was our first course) set the stage for the rest of the meal.
Sat likes to play with food; as demonstrated by him serving his take on (crisp, wafer-thin) ham, (slow cooked) egg and (frozen and sorbet) peas on the second series of the Great British Menu – a dish still being served today as an ‘add-on’ course and isn’t afraid to throw in nitro-frozen fruit and veg, locally foraged ingredients or a signature slow cooked egg yolk your way. Summer nitro vegetables and freeze-dried strawberries and cream both packed a really fresh and pulsating punch of the ‘fresh’ ingredient. There is also a factor of fun running through the food – one of my highlight dishes was roe deer served with a deer kofta, burnt aubergine, cucumber and yoghurt. The taste of the combined ingredients made me think I was in Nottingham city center after a night on the beers having a kebab in the hope I don’t feel to rough in the morning; the taste was so wrong in the thoughts it provoked but that just made it so damn right.
Further curve balls are thrown your way by a course called ‘the crossover’ which signals the end of your ‘main courses’ and the start of your desserts. On my visit both (one per meal) consisted of a savory cream/mousseline and a sweet tasting sorbet with the most memorable of the two being lemon sorbet and horseradish cream. Have to say I wasn’t a huge fan of that combo but as a palate cleanser and conversation piece they were fantastic. Puddings vary (at least on my visit) from classics such as lime tart to fantastics such as ‘sweet curry’, a mixture of yoghurt ice-cream mango sorbet, fresh coconut, coriander and cumin and the aforementioned strawberries and cream consisting of freeze-dried strawberry and cream shards sitting on top of sweet strawberry compote and think clotted cream.
I think Sat’s is a restaurant deserving of a visit from all foodies across the globe. The food is unique (and constantly changing) and the restaurant is run perfectly by the team of sommeliers and waiters providing what felt like a completely personal service to each table in the fully booked dining room – if my understanding of Michelin is correct and they award extra stars for meals worth traveling for then it can only be a matter of time before it gets awarded more. And did I also mentioned that they do a full English breakfast (black pudding included) in the morning?! Well they do and for anyone staying in their rooms overnight it’s a bloody good thing to wake up to.Tweet