Anyone travelling down the country from my neck of the woods and wanting to eat a meal at Restaurant Sat Bains would best be advised to plan their journey well in advance of their visit. The restaurant is definitely a bit of a pain in the backside to get to from the North but boy is it worth it once you`re there.My journey from Whitehaven to Nottingham ended up as a 10 hour round trip and thanks to my Sat navs “mountain pass , muddy lane and countryside mode” it decided to cut the motorways out and to take me via the scenic route via village , lake and fell. Long journey and long story short we arrived at the restaurants `NG7 2SA` postcode,the very same postcode that i had programmed into the Sat Nav… which unfortunately happened to be “Toys R Us”…Erm , it certainly didnt look like the pics that i had seen on the internet. Then following my arrival at “the toy shop” another Twenty minutes of driving around in circles which in turn led me back to…. Toys R us `again` and a head banging exercise on my Audi dashboard.I decided to do the sensible thing and ring the restaurant for help.The phone call was answered by a very familiar voice , it was the man himself – Sat Bains… “Hello Chief….let me guide you in, everyone gets lost”. It seems like all the diners relying on modern technology have to get either guided in to dine or a staff member actually ventures out on escort duties.
So just around the corner from the industrial estate and hugging the neighbouring motorway , sitting alongside the huge electricity pylon sits the idyllic little escape “Restaurant Sat Bains….with rooms”.To be honest its a little breath of fresh air after the journey.Converted stable blocks, a gravel courtyard and immaculate groomed greenery make up the complex – and the centrepiece , a large crab apple tree with branches almost breaking under the weight of the masses of tiny golden fruits.
We were met by Sats wife Amanda ,a lovely lady and her friendly smile and warm welcome gave me the good vibes that we were going to have a very enjoyable evening. Sarka ( my other half ) settled into the
beautiful room whilst i carted a large box of Cumbrian West coast Sea Buckthorn over to the Kitchen.The buckthorn bushes are heavy with fruit on the Cumbrian coast right now so it seemed a shame not to take some for the guys in the kitchen seeing as though they were so far from the coast.
Straight away a nosey Mr Bains was right into the box ratching around…”What we got here then Chief” ?Once Sat realised what i`d brought and the nightmare task involved getting the Buckthorn berries off the deadly thorny branches , he just smiled ,pointed at one of the new guys and said …”perfect little job for this guy chief”…..The poor commis wandered off with the box, his face like a bulldog chewing a wasp.i then met the team in the kitchen ,a totally crazy bunch of guys headed up by the head chef John Freeman. All of the guys were totally down to earth and taking the “P” out of each other big style, yet at the same time all working away like surgeon preparing their beautiful fresh ingredients.They were of course led by Sat , the six foot plus “man mountain” and Chief joker of the team pulling , poking and prodding everyone that walked by with a huge daft grin on his face.All in all i witnessed a very happy bunch of guys and it was very evident that they loved working for their nutty leader. I wasn`t too happy that they all thought i was a Geordie though……is my Cumbrian accent so `un Cumbrian` ???? Opposite coast guys….totally opposite coast….Whitehaven = West………..Newcastle = East…. “Coast to coast “.Im not from Middlesborough or Scotland either….cheeky buggers.
My dining companions for the evening were David and Nicole aka The Critical Couple. A husband and wife team of totally fanatical food lovers and bloggers.Hopefully i would get some tips from the top off this very
successful pair of amateur foodies.
As far as menu options go there was no alc available.Not that i ever go for that anyways.Our choices of menu consisted of a 7 or a 10 course option….we chose the 10 naturally. An available “extra” was the 65
degree Duck egg dish ( £15) that Sat had won the BBC Great British menu with.We all ordered that one as well , after all it was probably that dish that started Sat off on the road to national success. The 10 course meal was priced at £89 and the Sommelier wine selection was available at £ 65 for 10 glasses.
Horseradish panna cotta, smoked bread, nettle puree, and a gastrique jus
Duck egg cooked at 62 deg with peas, pea sorbet and Bellota ham
Scallops roasted, with chicory, coriander, seasame seeds, pumpkin seeds, shallots,
textures of squash and pumpkin oil.
‘Allium’, ( Garlic ) An aromatic bowl of caramelised shallots, a French onion soup, onion oil and crispy shallots.
Grey mullet with a Leek stew
English Duck – Duck liver parfait rolled in duck ham, crispy duck skin, ‘Asian influences’ of peanuts, sweetcorn, shiitake mushrooms and spring onions with a plum puree
Pickled, salt baked and cured celeriac, served on a chicken and truffle jus
Wild hare served with quince, fresh pear, cauliflower and shavings of bitter chocolate and a little toast of tartare of hare.
Beetroot, goats cheese granita, lemon zest and a little salt
Sea Buckthorn with caramel, soft meringue and pine
Chocolate, served with coffee caramel, yoghurt foam and coffee shortbread
‘Blackberry’, served with almond granola, wood sorrel and vanilla ice cream
All in all , the food was very enjoyable indeed.Portions air on the small side and i could have carried on and easily eaten another 10 courses if im honest.The bread was tasty and plentiful so i loaded up on that and ended up very comfortable and satisfied. Service was excellent and personally i couldn`t find room for improvement…..Sat and Amanda along with a great bunch of staff out front and in the kitchen have well and truly got the whole thing nailed….Just keep on doing what you do best guys.
And as for that big bully….all i did was look at him the wrong way 😉
Oh and i cant finish without letting you all see the amazing full English.To view all the photos from my meal at Sat Bains then please click HERE
9 Comments Add yours
Fabulous pics as always Alan… gonna have to get there a.s.a.p!
looks really good whats the puree under the hare dish looks good
I think it was Quince.
What were the best dishes Alan?
Did the duck egg dish live up to expectation?
Yeah the duck egg was spot on David….apart from i could have eaten another three dishes of it.
“My dining companions for the evening were David and Nicole”. What? Didn’t you invite the lovely Sarka, haha?
How are those sea buckthorns? I think I saw them a lot on the second to last series of Great British Menu (am I correct?) and from the comments they seem to have a very pronounced, distinct flavour, not appreaciated by everyone. Loved Sat by the way, seemed like a total nut, so right up your alley, heh Alan.
Most important though, how’s it going with the moulds for the Meat Fruit. Found the right ones?
Oh the nutty Sarka was there also Auldo.AS for the sea buckthorn well yes, it does have a very unique flavour and one week later I could still smell the lovely scent in my car.ill go and pick some more this weekend, maybe make a cheesecake and some buckthorn curd.
The moulds….got them.Ashley from “dinner” put me on to the chocolate supply shop and they arrived within days.cheers n take care….miss your blog posts.
Have u got hestons new book ? I’ve put it away for xmas day.
Nice. You take reservations for Christmas?
You know, I actually miss some of the craziness sometimes. I just make certain components, but never went full blast crazy after the blog. Incentive is everything.
‘Heston at Home’. Hint!
Also just now saw the comments of the previous post, funny stuff man. Your photos are starting to make people nervous = heading in the right direction.
By the way you should really get your ass, pardon my French, to Oud Sluis: pretty close by from England and I know you will love it. Lots of shellfish, sweet and sour and fruits and vegetables.
The wild hare dish sounds just perfect to me!