A barn conversion holed up in Nottingham’s industrial wastelands sounds an unlikely setting for a ground-breaking eatery, but Sat Bains’ classy restaurant-with-rooms is guaranteed to blow your socks off with its wondrous, two-Michelin-starred food. Naming a dish after the restaurant’s postcode is one way of describing an amazing amalgamation of locally gleaned pickings – perhaps watercress and nettle soup, horseradish pannacotta, foraged greens, elderberry vinegar, smoked bread and lovage tuile. Otherwise, there are star turns aplenty, all colour-coded according to the five tastes (salt, sweet, sour, bitter, umami): Jersey Royals with dashi, onion juice and ham; roe deer with cauliflower, pear, blue cheese and chocolate; jelly and ice cream with pine and Earl Grey tea – also watch out for a special, unannounced extra (perhaps a renowned riff on ‘ham, egg and peas’). Sat Bains’ wife Amanda and her team provide sweet-natured, ‘insightful’ service – especially when it comes to advising on suitable choices from the cleverly organised, top-flight wine list.
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.