Do you panic when you cook a ragu and the ingredients stick to the pan?
That’s not necessary, says super chef Sat Bains with two Michelin stars.
When MailOnline Travel had a chat with him at his restaurant in Nottingham, he revealed the secret of cooking the perfect ragu – and said it is “best bit” when the ingredients start to stick.
“Remember – moisture is the enemy,” says Sat (shown in his two-star restaurant in Nottingham). “It’s in mushrooms and shallots and vegetables … it’s all about wiping out the moisture to get the caramelization, where the taste is”
But before explaining why, he emphasized that you have to spend a considerable amount of time preparing the classic Italian dish.
He said: ‘Making a real ragu takes three or four hours. You cannot do it within 20 minutes.
“The phases are low, so when I make a Bolognese or a ragu, I caramelize the meat.
“The enemy is water. Everything that contains moisture – that just isn’t taste.
‘So when we make a sauce, we collect moisture. You get your minced meat, you put it in a large pan, you sweat it off, it gets steaming, that is all the moisture in the meat that comes off, then it starts to become crispy, and that crispy means that the fat is now released and the water is gone.
Sat said: ‘Making a good ragu takes three or four hours. You can’t do it within 20 minutes’
“So you have to listen to it.
“Then it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, which is best. All the little pieces of meat stick to the pan.
“Don’t catch it so it’s dark, it must be a roasted bronze color. But don’t panic if there are dark pieces. “
Then you add your vegetables – and you have to repeat the process, Sat says.
Remember – moisture is the enemy
He continued: “You add your shallots, your mushrooms, your garlic, because that has moisture. Steam is coming back. It glazes the pan. All bottom is clean. And that starts to stick.
‘But you know that you have extracted all the beautiful caramelization in the pan.
“If they start to crack and caramelize the fat, add your broth, your tomatoes and your herbs.
“Then simmer gently for three hours and you end up with this incredible deeply flavored substance. You layered it with caramelization. And all the moisture has disappeared.
“Remember – moisture is the enemy. It’s in mushrooms and shallots and vegetables … it’s all about wiping out the moisture to get the caramelization, where the taste is.
“You will end up with a deeply flavored ragu.”
In the restaurant that refuses to serve vegan food: from baked potato with caviar to skewers with duck heart, MailOnline tries the £ 120 tasting menu at Sat Bains with two Michelin stars (and stays the night)
Van Ted Thornhill
It is an understatement to say that Restaurant Sat Bains is in an inconvenient location.
Named after the charismatic chef / patron, this Nottingham eatery with rooms has a brilliant list of awards – two Michelin stars, five AA rosettes, rated by restaurant # 1 in Great Britain in 2018 by TripAdvisor and fourth in the 2019 best Harden’s Top 100 best British restaurants in 2019.
Yet it is located next to a viaduct with four carriageways along a downright deadly lane (we have to turn around broken glass when we arrive) and under a high-voltage pylon.
Restaurant Sat Bains has a wonderful list of accolades – two Michelin stars, five AA rosettes, rated as the number 1 restaurant in Great Britain in 2018 by TripAdvisor. Yet the area is a bit boring
But as soon as you enter the gravel courtyard, the gray surroundings melt away as if Harry Potter-style sorcery is at work and you get lost in a mini-kingdom of breathtakingly delicious food and world-class hospitality in beautifully decorated, renovated Victorian farmhouse buildings next to a city garden. With beehives.
So yes, spoiler alert – it meets the hype.
Although vegans notice this warning – Mr. Great Bains, winner of the British menu, won’t take care of you because his business model is based on seven (£ 105) and 10-course (£ 120) non-vegan menus. And that is not something he will ever change, partly because he believes serving vegan food in his restaurant would be a “rip-off”, that the cost of the ingredients would not be the same and he thinks it would be wrong to charge a vegan guest £ 120 on that basis.
Anyway, we arrive at 3 p.m. to check in – we stay the night – and our table is only at 7 p.m. However, until then we don’t have to wait for a demonstration of the courage of the kitchen team as the receptionist gives us two ‘welcome’ home-made chocolate brownies – and they’re absolutely heavenly.
“That’s really good chocolate,” my foodie announces French half.
Ted enjoys a 10-course tasting menu that he describes as ‘a roller coaster of highly technical culinary delights’. Pictured is the main restaurant
SAT IS A BEAUTIFUL CAREER
Sat Bains has been at the forefront of the British food scene for 20 years.
In 1999 he won the prestigious Roux grant and in 2002 he was launched Restaurant Sat Bains with rooms. The following year, Restaurant Sat Bains became the first restaurant in Nottingham to receive a Michelin star.
Since then, Sat has received the AA’s ultimate prize of five rosettes, two Michelin stars and 9 out of 10 in the Good Food Guide. He also received two Catey Awards – Menu of the Year (in 2003) and the coveted Chef Award (in 2015).
In 2017, Sat was the only British chef to be named among the 100 best chefs in the world, a list produced by the French magazine Le Chef and composed of the votes of chefs with two and three Michelin stars. He has received four honorary doctorates and remains committed to training young chefs and improving the working environment for them. His book – Too Many Chiefs, Only One Indian – has won nine international prizes.
There are a total of seven newly renovated individually decorated double rooms with private bathrooms. We are in room three, in a separate building from the main building.
And it’s quite super – spacious, and an impressive and thoughtful mix of modern, glamorous and luxurious, boutique elements in shades of gray and white, with furniture from rich dark woods. And it is all so clean that I wonder if we are the very first guests.
There is a claw foot bath; Aesop toiletries; a super-large wall clock, a comfortable L-shaped sofa; a large, beautifully thick blanket to crawl under and a smart TV with Netflix and Apple TV that extends so that you can watch it from the soft bed.
Ted stays in the photo in room 3 at Sat Bains. It features a smart TV with Netflix and Apple TV that extends so that you can watch it from the soft bed. And it is ‘an impressive and thoughtful mix of modern, glamorous and luxurious, boutique-like elements in shades of gray and white’
The stylish L-shaped couch from Room 3, the ‘large blanket’ and the dressing area on the right are shown here
A TASTY BMW
I drove from London to Sat Bains in a delicious new BMW 1 series – an F40 118i (below, outside of my room) with all sporting and technical gadgets.
It turned out to be more than a match for the holes outside the restaurant. And looks challenging to start up. So perfect for a foodie road trip.
For more information click here.
I also love the tray with refreshments with pots of ground roasted coffee and a filter jug - Sat Bains is not a type of instant coffee – and the dimmable light bulbs.
A gentle trip to the wines by the glass list helps to pass the time, with a quick room service operation that delivers a fresh Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner, from the Kamptal region in Austria (£ 11); a Cabernet Franc by Philippe Alliet ‘Chinon Tradition’ from the Loire Valley of France (£ 10); a Weingut Moric Blaufrankisch from Burgenland in Austria (£ 11) and a velvety Masseria Li Veli Susumaniello, made in Puglia, Italy (£ 12).
All great, especially the peppery Loire Valley selection.
At 6.30 am we use the dressing room of our room and we use our dinner clothes, after which we go to the bar for an aperitif and the main event – a 10-course tasting menu and paired wines.
After a delicious glass of Le Chapitre Champagne – the table next to us chooses sake, which impresses the restaurant manager – we are brought into the restaurant for an experience that is as much an event as a meal.
The bar in the photo starts where the Sat Bains dining experience begins. Here guests sit in beautifully upholstered chairs
Ted has ‘a delicious glass of Le Chapitre Champagne’ in the bar, pictured, for his aperitif. But there are many options – including sake
Mr Bains takes your taste buds on a journey with the five flavors – salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami – and the menu has a key that identifies the flavors in each dish, many of which are made with ingredients from the garden on it. terrain.
Mouth water science.
To emphasize the differences and get involved in the concept, the first course, simply called “Introduction,” consists of five exquisite savory pieces that are pure examples of every taste – a sea bead, lobster, bonito and seaweed; fried onion textures in an onion consommé (sweet); balsamic ice cream on a sourdough cracker (sour); a tapioca cracker flavored with seaweed, avocado and olive oil puree, green tea and seaweed salt (bitter), and a gougère with pumpkin puree, crispy parmesan cheese and a soy glaze (umami).
Pictured is an example of one of Sat’s stunning dishes – black pudding of pigeon with shoarma herbs, samosa, melon, feta, mint, yogurt and barbecue sauce
And at the end, for a dish called ‘Conclusion’, we get five dessert snacks that once again demonstrate the flavors, to book the experience – a salted caramel chocolate truffle (salt); an ice cream of white chocolate and mandarin ice cream with pine angel and pine sugar (sweet); dehydrated pineapple with mint sorbet (acid); a ‘mushroom trifle’ made of mushroom and chocolate puree, candied mushrooms, mascarpone mousse, dried porcini mushrooms and cocoa powder (bitter) and fudge with miso flavor with fresh lime peel (umami).
In between there is a roller coaster of other highly technical culinary delights.
Deer venison, beaten in the nearby Wollaton Hall with beets and truffle, is a sensational taste bomb; the partridge ragu comes with ‘tagliatelle van raap’, a clever skill that sees the turnip boil in such a way that you temporarily think it is actually pasta and Goosnargh duck is presented as a ‘mixed grill’ – complete with a mini kebab stick of meat.
An eating option is a seat in the kitchen (photo) – where guests are served by the chefs and have the opportunity to talk to them while they cook
The menus appear on table lanterns so that guests can follow their culinary adventure course per course on the left. On the right is the ‘Nucleus’ of Sat Bains, where guests can taste ‘dishes are put to the test before they reach the main menu’
WHY SAT BAINS DO NOT SERVE VEGAN FOOD
Sat thinks serving a vegan menu in his restaurant would be a rip off for his guests, since he charges £ 120 per head for the tasting menu and his business model is based on that.
He says that the menu would of course “be produced with the same love, care and research” with which all his food is made, but the cost of the ingredients would not be the same and he believes that “it would be wrong to have a vegan guest to charge £ 120 on that basis. ‘ He has “a carefully structured company with 48 employees that is only open for dinner four days a week.” The price structure of his menus “is focused on a certain level with those who have business costs and responsibilities in mind.” Hence his decision not to offer a vegan menu for the past 20 years.
No part of the duck is lost, with the dish consisting of wood-fired breast, sausage made from the chopped neck, a rillette of the legs wrapped in potato and a skewer of the heart and liver served with a roasted mushroom and glazed in teriyaki . There is also a black pudding made from minced meat offal, plus mandarin segments and dried and roasted tomato.
We also enjoy a mushroom quiche expertly cut and assembled to resemble a rose bud, a reassuring steam-baked potato with Baeri prestige caviar, a delicious chocolate marquise, a delicate grid of cinnamon-coated potato that looks like a waffle, with crème pâtissière, vanilla ice cream and black currant jam – and pieces of bread that look like muffins, accompanied by seriously delicious butter.
At every step, Sat uses temperature and flavor combinations and texture contrasts that are amazing and surprising.
The wines are now the perfect addition – the striking bottles are a 2016 Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir by Louis Michel & Fils from Burgundy; a Pictus VI 2017 from Painted Wolf Wines from South Africa and a 2014 Chryseia from Prats & Symington from the Douro region in Portugal.
Our sommelier describes them and explains how they complement the food with passionate expertise.
The Sat Bains city garden, which produces around 40 percent of the plants, salads and herbs used in the restaurant
In April 2019, Sat Bains installed two beehives in the garden, on the photo. The honey produced by the bees is ‘fairly citrus-like and light in color’
Ted concludes: “Add my breathless hyperbole to the praise that Sat has rightly received”
TED’S 10-WINE SUGGESTION COURSE
NV Brut Classic Reserve, Hattingley, Hampshire, England – 70 ml
2016 Verdejo Carravinas, Bodegas Felix Cachazo, Rueda, Spain – 70 ml
2016 Grenache, Willunga 100, McLaren Vale, Australia – 70 ml
2016 Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir, Louis Michel & Fils, Burgundy, France – 70 ml
2017 Pinot Noir, Verum, Bodega Del Rio Elorza, Alto Valle Del Rio Negro, Patagonia, Argentina – 70 ml
2017 Pictus VI, Painted Wolf Wines, Coastal Region, South Africa – 70ml
2014 Chryseia, Prats & Symington, Douro Portugal – 125 ml
2010 Ice Cider, Domaine Leduc-Piedimonte, Quebec, Canada – 50 ml
2016 Torrontes Tardio, Familia Zuccardi, Mendoza, Argentina – 50ml
We even get a short geology lesson, to learn how 200 million years ago Burgundy was under water, with the salt left behind to give the wines grown there a wonderful minerality.
His colleagues are also top class and combine gentle chatter with efficiency and politeness at Savoy level.
The institution? Refined, usually with dark wood and made to measure. I especially admire the beautifully upholstered loungers and the tables, which are covered with deer skins from the Wollaton Hall.
I also love the lamps on the tables that show the menu, so that you can follow your odyssey course per course.
A bonus of an overnight stay is that you can experience the Sat Bains breakfast, which is served in one of the large dining rooms and is sensational in itself.
In the morning we are happy to see that the delicious butter has returned, this time accompanied by beautiful homemade jam and honey from the RSB hives.
While standing in a beautifully presented, completely tasty, full English and pouring coffee from a huge Le Creuset coffee pot, I think of the Sat Bains experience.
Mr Bains, and his wife, Amanda, who oversees the rooms, have certainly created something special.
Our room has almost complete figures and represents an exceptionally good price (see the Travel Facts box for prices).
There is nevertheless room for a smooth improvement.
I would replace the inexpensive plastic toilet seat (which does not stay up late) with wood that matches the beautiful wooden furniture elsewhere, and the plastic rain shower head with a stylish metal attachment to merge with the rest of the industrial retro plumbing. A shower hose would also be good (other rooms have them).
And if Michelin stars are ever distributed for ironing boards, the number with the wide legs that we got in the race for minus two …
As for the restaurant … well, add my breathless hyperbole to the praise that Sat has rightly earned.
The entire operation is pure class – exciting, fascinating, performed with military precision, bordering on genius.
Do you notice that it is one step higher than a restaurant with a Michelin star? Yes you will. Is this the best restaurant in Great Britain? It must certainly be a contender.
Compliments for the chefs!
Ted was hosted by Restaurant Sat Bains, which offers packages with a room, a tasting menu and breakfast from £ 185 per person. The tasting menu with seven courses is £ 105 and the tasting menu with 10 courses is £ 120.
Room 3 gets 4/5, the restaurant 5/5 and the overall experience …
Classification key: one star – poor; two stars – ok; three stars – good; four stars – very good; five stars – exceptional.