Restaurant Sat Bains - fourth best in the world!

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Richard Hill, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. According to Trip Advisor Awards. They award the winners based on an algorithm of reviews of restaurants around the world. It's also number one in the UK.

    I'm a huge fan of this place with it being relatively local to me. Was hoping it would have got a third Michelin star the other month but not to be. Anyone who hasn't been lately I urge you to head to Nottinghamshire and experience the place. The service is top class and so passionate. And it just seems to get better every visit.

    It's a 7 or 10 course tasting menu. But unlike most tasting menus with one or two great courses - 5 or 6 of the courses will totally blow you away and you will then debate long and hard with your friends which was the standout as there are so many !

    Sat Bains and his head chef John Freeman really have mastered their art now.

    Theyve also got a chef called Laurence in their team who based on the reaction so far from the critics on Masterchef the Professionals is on his way to winning that this year with a bit to spare, I've never seen critics unable to criticise food on there before! But he has left them quite speechless so far.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  2. Don't just take my word for it. Check out their reviews lately. Incredible reviews. I guess that's how the algorithm makes them fourth best in the world. The winner was a restaurant in Strasbourg called Au Crocodile.

    Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham - Restaurant Reviews, Phone Number & Photos - TripAdvisor

    For those who don't live close by they do some good overnight stay dining packages.

    Should say I realise this is a wine forum. I'm more of a foodie but was drawn here when you guys were the only forum that seemed to be discussing Michelin stars. I'm not a wine expert so don't want to embarrass myself on here talking about sat Bains wine! Lol

    But having championed sat Bains for a third michelin star in your thread back then I thought i would mention this award they have just won.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  3. Sat's head wine guy Laurent comes to one of the local wine groups occasionally. He is a thoroughly nice man, a great wine enthusiast & very knowledgeable. I've only eaten at Sat's once but on that occasion we had the wine matches and Laurent enjoyed himself giving the table the wines blind while encouraging me to alternately cover myself in glory/humiliate myself trying to work out what each wine was. I had some bad misses & some decent hits, but nailing the Brachetto was a small moment of triumph!
  4. Restaurant Sat Bains is absolutely fantastic. Top end of 2* and cannot be far off promotion to 3* at some point.
  5. That list makes even the World's 50 Best look credible.
  6. By all accounts, Restaurant Sat Bains is terrific. But I'm really not sure about this Trip Advisor thing. For a start, Trip Advisor doesn't even rate RSB as the best in Nottingham - that accolade is given to The Calcutta Club. So how does this algorithm work? And if Au Crocodile really is the best in the world, then it must have improved recently.

    But all power to Sat Bains' elbow, whatever you think about TripeAdvisor.
  7. I've eaten at RSB once, and it was very good indeed.

    For context the best "restaurant" in Southampton for 2018, according to Trip Advisor, is actually a butchers shop! (ok, it has a cafe attached to it, but even so) I have to say that I take no notice whatsoever of Trip Advisor.
  8. Twitadvisor's rankings are really only to be used as a source of amusement, not of information.

    Sat Bains is, however, excellent, although it's now a long time since I've been. A meal at Sat Bains before a Nottingham offline always made a good weekend, though the best was one time when our sadly departed forumite, Ian Ball (RIP), found himself home alone, so invited himself along to join me.
    Andy Leslie likes this.
  9. I believe they are comparing all of the restaurants they class as "fine dining" across the world? So he's not being compared to the Calcutta Club or a butchers cafe in Southampton! Knowing trip advisor and its algorithms it will also be more complicated than that of course!

    And so we can assume that there may be "better" restaurants. In terms of reviews from fine dining clients, however, Sat Bains is pleasing his clients better than any in the UK. And fourth best in the world? Bearing in mind it's very expensive (for the Midlands at least) that's no mean feat. This isn't a cheap restaurant that pleasantly surprises people by being good. This is a very expensive restaurant you have to make a big effort to visit. In Notts having the device charge included on the bill is unheard of! People are going with very high expectations of this place and spending a lot of money there. And based on the incredible reviews and this award - those expectations are being met and actually being bettered.

    In Notts the cost of a meal at Sat Bains is 4 or 5 times the norm in the region. Yet I would sacrifice 4 or 5 meals elsewhere for just one meal here without question. It's different class. And the passion and enjoyment his staff show whilst working there is second to none. Sat and his wife and head chef have developed an incredible team and experience.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  10. Now in fairness to Sat. He can't be blamed for the list.

    I believe he was the only British Chef voted in the Top 100 by fellow (2 and 3 Michelin star) chefs around the world.

    At the same time he now comes out on top of British chefs in the eyes of TA reviewers.

    That's his peers AND his customers showing their respect for what he has done. It takes a special chef and special restaurant to gain the respect of both.

    Here is a chef who focuses on ONE restaurant and continuously improves. A hands on chef who doesn't chase money using his name to open restaurants he is absent from or doesn't chase income from his own TV shows or from endorsing product etc.

    Years ago when he won Great British Menu his head could have been turned but instead he just keeps his head down and delights his customers with his food.
  11. If you went back I promise it's a whole new level now. Continuous improvement. Dishes don't make the final cut for his tasting menu without being very special. He has a place called Nucleus where his customers pay (full price) to test the potential new dishes for weeks/months before they either pass or fail the taste tests to make the menu. Hence so many standouts in one tasting menu. They don't arrive by accident. And as you will know there is no a la carte. Sat doesn't trust his customers to choose the right combinations of food!! It's tasting menu 7 items or tasting menu 10 items! I follow his Twitter and it's great to watch a new dish get talked about, tested then eventually introduced should it pass the taste tests etc.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
    Andrew Stevenson likes this.
  12. I'm certainly not blaming Sat, rather that their algo is using the wrong inputs or in some other way wildly flawed. No restaurants in Japan in the Top 10, yet some rubbish places from Australasia included for good measure? Then there is the fine dining destination of Cancun...

    Entirely possible that most knowledgable diners don't leave reviews on sites like TA :)
    Andrew Stevenson likes this.
  13. Yes. That's possible. It's also possible those that review in the UK (and Cancun etc) have lower standards than in other countries with better restaurants.

    Having said that once again in fairness to Sat a large number of his reviews are from International guests. These aren't just us "locals" that are getting carried away.

    And if we focus just on UK restaurants it's reasonably fair to say that guests at his restaurant are finding it one of the very best in the UK at least.

    I've eaten at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay 3 star recently. It was great but nowhere near as tasty food or memorable as sat recently. I've also tried dinner at Heston. That was great also but only one truly memorable dish.

    Where in the UK should I go to try and beat this experience and this tasting menu guys?

    It only seems to be Michelin that don't have him right at the top of UK (yet)?

    Fellow chefs and clients clearly appear to have him right up there? When I asked some of his staff if they were hoping for a third star. The reply was "we aren't French enough"

    Where will I find a better tasting menu in UK than Sat Bains?
  14. Every western restaurant scoring system seems flawed for one reason or another.

    Michelin - Favour Frenchified or avant-garde, extensive wine lists, superior service. They say it's all about the food, but it's not.
    Tripadvisor/Zagat/etc - Populist reviews.
    50 Best - PR driven influencers looking for handouts (flights, free meals/wine)
    OAD - Group think / trends from "destination diners" at the top of its weighting.
    La Liste and other big data based - Good idea, yet it still suffers from all of the faults from the data they are aggregating.

    Tabelog in Japan is essentially TA-like, except the Japanese are far more discerning and resulting ranking much more reliable.
    Any "world's best" list that doesn't have multiple entries for restaurants in Japan can be immediately written off because that is where a good proportion of the best are.

    In the UK, Hedone and The Ledbury certainly come to mind.
    Thom Blach and Paul Day like this.
  15. Easy to be snobby about Trip Advisor, and certainly everything has to be taken with a large pinch of salt, and much must be read between the lines. It takes a long time to use it successfully, but if you put in the time...

    It is unquestionably the single most useful resource available for restaurants, though, especially abroad - find it hard to see how anyone can disagree with that. Simply far more user data than anywhere else. It has provided me with many of my greatest finds, which I would almost certainly not have found otherwise.
    Nigel PMartin and Jasper Morris like this.
  16. I use TripAdvisor for one thing and one thing only, pictures of the food. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words - they tip you off to if they can cook a protein correctly, use half of Heston's chemistry set, are trend following, using poor ingredients, etc.

    Google Reviews can be an even better resource than TripAdvisor if you want similar data without the clunky TA interface.
    Thom Blach likes this.
  17. That's two recommendations above for the Ledbury. I'm definitely going to go there. I've heard great things about l'enclume as well.
  18. Does Restaurant Sat Bains still refuse to consider corkage. I’ve never been and was led to believe their mark ups were quite excessive? Corkage wiould increase my desire to go
  19. That's actually something I can agree with. I don't want to suggest TripAdvisor does not contain real - potentially valuable - information. It does. What I struggle with is the idea that some algorithm can sift its way through the nonsense that gets posted there. Surely that needs a human to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    But maybe "algorithm" is a euphemism for saying that somebody has pulled the list together. Such a thing would be one person's view, but at least it would be more defensible as such.
  20. I went to look at La Liste. Think it only came out last week? On there Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is top ranked in UK. And about 80th on the list. Sat Bains is second in the UK about 20 places behind. Then l'enclume and Alain ducasse another 20 places behind sat approx. With this being more French based maybe sat will get his third star sooner rather than later after all.
  21. When I left Southampton (admittedly 4 years ago now) I would have said that it was entirely believable that the best restaurant in the city could be a butcher's shop. Southampton is not exactly a mecca of fine dining, or even mediocre dining come to think of it.
    Andrew Blunsden likes this.
  22. Took a look at the 2019 La Liste and all I can say it is VERY much improved but still is littered with anomalies like The Inn @ Little Washington in the Top 20, which should struggle to get in the Top 1000 yet it does have Matsukawa in the Top 5. To be honest, I don't think any UK restaurant should be in the Top 100 worldwide, so with only 2 on the list maybe their algorithm is almost there :)
  23. I hadn't seen La Liste before. It appears to have a genuine authority that such things usually lack.
  24. God, yes! Worst thing you can do with TA is just quickly skim off the top ten on the list. They're usually ice cream parlours, for a start ;)
    Ian Black likes this.

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