I woke early on Mr P’s birthday so that I could make him a cup of coffee and give him his card which contained details about his Sat Bains surprise that evening and surprised he certainly was! It was a great reaction and the reality of it was even better.
The Sat Bains Restaurant is down a lane next to an industrial estate a few miles from Nottingham City Centre but whilst not the most picturesque of settings, you completely forget about that when you get there. The staff are amazingly attentive with one of the female waiters offering to take my bag which I politely declined lest she hear the stashed bottle of wine clinking about inside.
Our room was small but plenty big enough for us and immaculately clean. The bed was a huge wooden beast laden with cushions and the bathroom was clean and white with a roll-top bath and a shower with a head the size of a dinner plate. There were sweet little touches as well, such as a selection of up to date magazines, an iPod dock, hot water bottle and hair straighteners.
We headed over to the restaurant at just after 8pm and asked the sommelier to recommend a bottle of light, red wine because the wine list itself was the same size as War and Peace and overwhelming to say the least.
And then onto the food. It was simply incredible. We started with tiny cubes of horseradish ice cream and nasturtium moose in thinly rolled pastry. From there we had ‘black’ scallops, kohlrabi pasta, posh cheese on toast with truffle ketchup and a rhubarby dessert among other gorgeous morsels that were mind-blowing. The staff were on hand to refill our wine glasses and inform us about the food and although they’re very friendly, at times, their ‘banter’ felt a bit robotic as if they’d been fed the lines to say to the guests. I get the impression that most of the guests would’ve had the same conversation with the waiting staff but then, maybe that kind of thing is required should you want to attain, and retain, your Michelin star.
I woke the next day a little foggy-headed after a bizarre dream where I stripped completely naked in one of the local pubs although Mr P assured me that despite seeing off three bottles of wine, I didn’t embarrass myself.
Breakfast was a more relaxed affair – there were no waiting staff preparing pesto at the table and they even had Smooth Radio on. My poached eggs and field mushrooms were simple but divine: the mushrooms were the mushroomiest mushrooms I’ve ever eaten and the egg yolks were as orange as Easyjet. Mr P had French toast with bacon and maple syrup.
Afterwards, we had a mooch around Nottingham before catching the train home and bought Little B a lion glove puppet for her birthday on Sunday.
We collected the whippet from mum’s and spent the afternoon cosied up around the fire listening to Mr P’s new Alan Partridge Nomad audiobook and watching vintage episodes of The Mighty Boosh. A pretty good birthday, I think, and the restaurant was honestly worth every penny (as Mr P is himself). When I asked for the bill, I was pleased, and secretly very relieved, that it came below my £500 budget so I purchased a pair of tickets for John Cooper Clarke at The Glee Club as well as a pink birthday dress and a pair of silver shoes for my birthday. Because you know I can never just save money for important stuff.