Foodies travel far and wide to savor the exquisite gastronomy of Nottingham’s Michelin-starred restaurants.
The city is home to two of the UK’s most popular dining venues – Sat Bains Restaurant, in Lenton Lane, and Alchemilla, in Derby Road near Canning Circus.
Earlier this week, the Michelin Guide announced that the two restaurants had retained their prestigious stars.
Eating and drinking at a Michelin-starred restaurant is unlike any other and, if it’s a special occasion, will make it all the more memorable.
Diners can’t just switch on a whim – booking months in advance is key.
It’s pricey but it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
The constant stream of stellar dishes can take several hours. The tasting menu plates are small but finely balanced, so diners should feel full but not ready to burst.
It’s not just Michelin, the revered food bible, that holds Nottingham’s best restaurants in high regard.
Sat Bains restaurant was recently crowned the UK’s number one restaurant by elite foodie guide Harden’s and this week was named Gourmet Bolthole of the Year by readers of Food and Travel.
Alchemilla came 14th in Harden’s Top 100, making Nottingham the only city outside of London to have two restaurants in the Top 20.
Restaurant Sat Bains
The two-star Michelin restaurant, run by Sat and Amanda Bains, charges £195 per person for the 10-course tasting menu.
This is just the beginning. Add a cocktail, G&T or beer before the meal, wine during dinner and coffee or port afterwards and the price skyrockets.
The innovative dishes on the menu have taken weeks, sometimes two to three months, to develop, are delivered by a ‘world class’ team, are prepared using ingredients sourced from some of the UK’s finest producers.
Some of the techniques used to create different elements on the plate include marinating, foraging, mashing, chilling, salting, steaming, seeding, barbecuing, fermenting, roasting , searing and flash freezing with liquid nitrogen.
Food is served with relaxed professionalism in the 36-seat restaurant.
For a more up-close and personal experience, diners can sit at the chef’s table or the kitchen bench, right in the thick of the action.
A team of sommeliers tasted and researched wines, sakes, spirits and soft drinks from around the world to create the perfect pairing for the unique tasting menu.
Wine pairings (nine wines to accompany the tasting menu) drive the cost up to an additional £155 for each person. For an even more exclusive experience with top tier wines, the cost is £275 per person.
- The culinary journey begins with the “introduction” of bites of all tastes – salty, sweet, sour, bitter and unami.
- Smoked eel, dashi, apple, turnip
- Sweetbread, celeriac, vinaigrette, truffle, Robert sauce
- Embers, new potatoes, Hollandaise, caviar N25
- Chawanmushi, crab, fennel
- Either Pigeon d’Anjou, tagine spices, endive, pear, BBQ sauce or monkfish teriyaki, truffle, cabbage, nero sauce
- The cross between savory and dessert rice pudding with sake
- White chocolate, spruce, miso, thyme, white pepper
- Our honey, spring 2021, pollen, cereals
- The Conclusion”, focusing again on the five tastes
New this year is “a taste of the garden” served in the greenhouse.
If you still have room, there is room for more. Belvoir Valley cheeses or a cheese soufflé with Beauvale Blue cost an additional £15.
wait for a table
The restaurant is open from Wednesday to Friday, by reservation for dinner from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (remember that the experience takes several hours).
Lunch is available from 2 p.m. on Saturday.
But don’t expect to go next week or even next month.
The restaurant is more or less full until the end of April. There are only a few slots left.
Instead of diners booking a path to a dark and distant future, the diary opens monthly when the phones are usually hot.
Reservations for May open on Friday February 25 and for June on Friday March 25.
However, it’s worth keeping an eye out for a last-minute cancellation on the restaurant’s social media.
What the guests are saying
“A fantastic evening! The whole experience was brilliant from start to finish. We were on the kitchen bench and WOW, every member of staff was so welcoming and polite, even got to meet Sat himself. Chefs were extremely knowledgeable and took the time to listen and answer our questions We will 100% be returning and hope to be back on the kitchen table Yes it is expensive but what do you expect a 2 Michelin star? Thank you from four very satisfied customers!”
“WOW. Me and the boyfriend love this place. The food is amazing and the tasting menu is just perfect. You get 10 absolutely amazing and very beautifully prepared and plated small dishes. It’s quite pricey but totally worth it price. Sat is a culinary genius!”
The restaurant also has bedrooms – each individual and elegantly decorated – so guests who have traveled far and wide can stay and indulge in the luxury of a king-size bed and all modern comforts, including a smart TV, air conditioning and a tea tray with homemade rusks.
Breakfast is as much a treat as dinner – and, if on the menu, chorizo eggs are a must.
Alchemilla has a Michelin star. The unique setting, a red-brick Victorian property, is where horse-drawn carriages were once stored for shed behind.
Chef Alex Bond and his team create unique tasting menus, with an emphasis on plant-based ingredients, the star of the show.
There are a number of different options. Five courses cost £85 and if you opt for wine pairings it’s £55 more per person.
Seven courses cost £110 (wine £75) and 10 courses £130 (wine £95).
In addition to the standard menu, there are alternative pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan menus, all of which are the same price.
From April, the restaurant will only serve the five-course Saturday lunch menu.
This is what diners can expect from the ten-course menu.
- Amuse-bouche to start: Mackerel, escabeche, chamomile/Nori, fermented mushroom caramel, aged parmesan/Hash brown, marrow bone, BBQ miso sauce/Chicken skin, artichoke, IP8
- Lobster, chanterelle, burnt lemon, brown butter (truffle supplement £15)
- Roasted scallops, koji coffee butter sauce, kaluga hybrid caviar
- Mussels, fir rose, seaweed relish
- Smoked eel, porcini mushrooms, scallop dashi, liquorice
- Celeriac cooked in whey, calamari, black garlic, green olive
- Aged beef, burnt eggplant, smoked egg yolk
- Pigeon, caramelized hay cream, walnut pickles
- Optional cheese course
- Blackcurrant ice cream sandwich
- Douglas fir, beet, pine
- Chocolate, chicory, artichoke
- Apple, buttermilk, sorrel
wait for a table
The reservation system opens every three months and was recently opened to make reservations from April 6 to the end of June.
Again, it’s worth keeping an eye out for cancellations posted on social media.
Reservations can be made for dinner Wednesday through Friday 5-7:30 p.m. and Saturday 6-8 p.m.
Saturday lunch is available from noon to 1:30 p.m.
What the guests are saying
“Exceeded our expectations, and they were high to begin with. Lovely venue, excellent service and exceptional food. Highly recommended, can’t wait to return. Dining here was a breathtaking experience from start to finish. Location with character unique which has been lovingly converted (ask to see their photo book) and now sports an open plan kitchen and a series of seating areas under the old brick arches, lots of natural light from above and a tranquil roof garden for the drinks.”
“The staff were incredibly friendly yet professional throughout. Alchemilla offers different tasting menu sizes; we opted for the 10 plus cheeses plus pairings, which took about a magical four hours to tackle. Each course was different, creative and deliciously memorable. Definitely worth it, and I would definitely go back.”
Food critic Grace Dent visited Alchemilla in its first year of operation, describing it as “a refreshing experience”.
She added that it was “compelling Japanese-influenced semi-fine dining that tests the limits of the Nottingham restaurant scene”.
Alchemilla has a picturesque roof terrace designed by Lady Bay artist Wolfgang Buttress – a famous designer best known for The Hive at Kew Gardens.
Diners can sample hand-picked wines, cocktails and English sparkling wine before the main event begins.
The restaurant does not have overnight rooms but downtown hotels are nearby.
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