A barn conversion holed up in Nottingham’s industrial wastelands is the unlikely setting for Sat Bains’ classy restaurant-with-rooms – a “ground-breaking” eatery that is guaranteed to blow your socks off with its wondrous, two-Michelin-starred food. Who else would name an amazing amalgamation of locally gleaned pickings after the venue’s postcode? Otherwise, there are big hits galore, all colour-coded according to the five primary ‘tastes’ (salt, sweet, sour, bitter, umami) – from chicken ‘muesli’ or ‘black-white’ scallops to lamb’s sweetbreads with Puy lentils and mint or roe deer with mushrooms, pine and lichen. Also watch out for a special, unannounced extra (perhaps a renowned riff on ‘ham, egg and peas’). Amanda Bains and her team provide sweet-natured, “insightful” service – especially when it comes to suggesting suitable choices from the cleverly organised, top-flight wine list. Despite the odd quibble about the restaurant’s location and slightly “oppressive” atmosphere, this is a “simply fabulous” experience.
Winner of the BMW Square Meal Award for Best UK Restaurant 2007, the two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms is run by Sat & Amanda Bains on the outskirts of Nottingham. One of the UK’s most accomplished chefs, Bains helped to open the first Raymond Blanc brasserie in Oxford in 1996. A spell at L’Escargot followed, before he returned to the Midlands to head up the kitchen of the Martins Arms in Colston Basset. After being spotted by Michelin at the Ashbourne Gallery in Derbyshire, he won the Roux Scholarship in 1999, leading to a three-month stint at the then three-Michelin-starred Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier. He returned to take up the post of head chef at Hotel des Clos in Nottingham & in 2002 renamed the restaurant there Restaurant Sat Bains at Hotel des Clos. In October 2004, Sat & Amanda bought the property & fully refurbished the dining room & its 11 bedrooms. In 2007, Bains served the starter at the ambassador’s banquet on the BBC’s Great British Menu.