Sunday, 19 September 2010

Restaurant Sat Bains

Nottingham's only Michelin starred restaurant, Sat is also a molecular chef, so some comparisons with the Fat Duck are inevitable, so I'll deal with the 2 biggies straight off. Sat's menu is a lot more local & seasonal, he also is a bit less multi-sensory/theatrical than Heston. We'd got a package offer, so a
room, champagne on arrival and the 7 course tasting menu. The wine list is huge and roams from pretty reasonable (25-30) to stratospheric. Having had the paired wines at the Fat Duck we did the same here. First up was an amuse bouche from the kitchen of an oyster foam with a pigs head croquette and a smoked haddock one, both were really good. Next was Sat's signature dish of ham, egg & peas. If you don't know this is the only dish that scored a perfect 30 in the great British menu and consists of a slow poached duck egg, peas, pea & mint sorbet and pata negra ham. I've eaten a fair few poached duck eggs, this was glorious. The sorbet tastes incredibly fresh & green and provides a great contrast to the warm duck egg.
Then it was onto the menu proper and an Alsatian white that we ended up killing, that was for the starters and went incredibly with the first, Pork, pears, chicory & monkfish which came with a liquorice sauce. The pork was superbly cooked and the pears which ranged from raw to a pear gel really went with it, the monkfish & liquorice were good together, but might not have needed to be on the same plate as the pork. Next up was Organic salmon with coriander.This was a cube of raw salmon, incredible pickled vegetables where placed on top and covered in an oyster & coriander emulsion. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. 
Next came NG7 2AS, an enigmatically named dish, that turns out to be foraged from with in a mile of the kitchen. If you get to eat it, it probably won't be the same as this. A salad of mainly sorrels with pickled elderberries, textures of crab apple, hazelnuts and a hazelnut  sand. With a glorious horseradish croquette.

For me this was the stand out dish, and it took a while to eat as everything needed to eaten on its own and then in combination.
The "main course" turned up, Yorkshire grouse with blackberries and a home made faggot, paired with a premier cru Burgundy. If the dish was any bigger then it would have been instant gout. Lovely meaty flavours from the (very) rare grouse breast and the beef faggot, complemented incredibly by the deep blackberry sauce and matched to the kind of wine that makes you understand where Jilly Goulden & co are coming from.
Then came "Crossover" a bridge between the main course & dessert. Its a mix of ham, pineapple, maple syrup and Parmesan cheese. Sounds odd but really works. 
The first of the desserts was simply titled "Chocolate" and was a rich chocolate mousse with a thyme & salt caramel and a buttermilk ice cream paired with an Australian muscadet, another standout bit of wine matching. Again well chosen complementary flavours the acidity of the buttermilk cutting through the rich sweetness on the plate, the addition of thyme to caramel provided a pleasant je ne sais quois and is something I think I might give a bit of a try in future.
The final menu course was "Raspberry" which consisted of a dish containing various raspberry things (a granita, a gel, whole berries) dotted with hazelnut meringues, both hard and soft and a lolly of freeze dried raspberries a white chocolate shell and a beetroot ice cream. 

Beetroot is much loved by the modern/molecular chef as it has a very interesting trick, where its flavour can be flipped between sweet & savoury depending on what it's served with(*). If you know that you can play with it in this dessert. This was teamed with a Sauternes which was probably the most disappointing wine of the night, in so much as it was merely very good, compared with the excellents of the other wines. Finally the richest chocolate brownie I've ever eaten arrived on a small square slate. I managed half of it.
So go, it's highly recommended, staying over in one of the fairly luxurious rooms takes a bit of a sting out of the bill, but you are paying toward the top end of 1 star prices. That said I don't think it can be too long before a second star arrives. The dishes are innovative and very well made, the wines well chosen and the service spot on. There is a 12.5% service charge on the food bill, which is  reasonable at this level.

(*) A high degree of acidity flips the beetroot from beetrooty to blackcurranty. Eating the raspberry chocolate shell to expose the ice cream with in (as shown in the photo) allows you to taste the beetroot ice cream in its vegetable guise. Dipping it into the granita turns it fruity again. 

1 comment:

  1. Reaction: Enchanted. It was missing from the ticky boxes.
    Om nom nom would do it a disservice. So enchanted shall suffice.