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Restaurant Sat Bains

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It might be useful if someone could post the cancellation policy?

Charging for late cancellations / no shows is one thing, charging someone who actually turns up and eats in the restaurant is another!

We live in depressing times if making a reservation for a restaurant becomes yet another part of life where one is required to inspect the small print to check one is not being ripped off.

Eating out should be easy and fun. This sort of cancellation policy, or at least the rigid implementation of it, is a quick way to make eating out unappealingly troublesome.

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A slightly different scenario but some years ago I had to cancel a restaurant reservations at one of the Ramsay establishments at approximately 24 hours notice due to a family emergency. I was advised that they would debit x amount of pounds per person and I told them in no uncertain terms that if they tried to I would instruct my bank that it was an unauthorised payment at which point, without any further argument at all, they agreed not to charge. I vaguley remember a court case many years ago where the judgement was in favour of the diner as the restaurant were deemed to have been given enough notice to rebook the table.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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without getting into the current debate, unfortunately customers tend get the reservations policies they deserve.

If 99% of people turn up when they're supposed to, then generally all is good but if you're turning away people, and the booked don't turn up, it is an issue.

It creeps up on you, we had no shows for rooms and tables when we had the pub and suddenly you think, 'right we're charging up front for a night at the time of booking' , and thus it rolls on depending on your place in the food chain what you can request.

When Hibiscus opened they had a no credit card details required policy as in Ludlow no-shows weren't a problem, in London people were booking multiple tables in different venues and deciding on the night where to go and often not even cancelling , it was costing thousands in lost bookings.

Although most of the people with an over developed interest in food don't act like this and see 'onerous' cancellation charges as an affront however, i can assure you, we are not the norm.

No-one sets out to be overly contractural but restaurants have high fixed costs and the tables need to be full, a lost table in a small venue can be a significant portion of a nights revenue - eg adrian at margots twitter the other night he had a 6 no show, despite a text reminder, that's c. 25% of his capacity lost, that he could have sold.

you don't win friends with salad

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It might be useful if someone could post the cancellation policy?

As noted earlier in this thread, the cancellation policy is on the website (on the Reservations page), but here is an extract from the confirmation email I received when booking earlier this year:

As requested I have reserved for you a Package One at the rate of £XXX pounds per person, per night based on two sharing. This package is inclusive of a Suite, Ten Course Tasting Menu, breakfast and VAT but excludes all addition charges, including service at 12.5%, which will be added to the final food and beverage bill.

I have reserved your table in our Restaurant at 7.30pm. Please advise us prior to your arrival should you have any dietary requirements or allergies so that dishes can be amended to ensure that you enjoy the dining experience.

Polite Notice

Please note that our cancellation policy requires any cancellations to be made by noon, 72 hours prior to the arrival date to avoid full charges of the full Rack Rate for the room and 90 pounds per person for dinner. However, if we are able to re sell your package to another group of the same size we will be happy to refund the full amount. Reductions in number however will still be charged.

As you can see it does explicitly state that a reduction in numbers is regarded as a "cancellation" and that (having booked a "package") my reservation was explicitly based on two sharing.

The only thing which is perhaps unusual is the requirement for 72 hours notice of cancellation, since I think many places will accept 24 or 48 hours notice.

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Howard- I get the feeling you'll be well looked after when you return.

May 09 2010 Trip Advisor review by some daft sod. Sat picks them up on their spelling of Nouvelle Cuisine. But I rather liked the last sentence.......

"One reviewer wrote "food is a subjective experience", I agree totally but there are some things that you know are .................wrong and Sat Bains's there is just something wrong or lacking. Perhaps my pallet is more accustomed to a French style."

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  • 3 weeks later...


I doubt that, I just noticed that the "offer" of £45 off the bill has been withdrawn following a Tripadvisor review I made. Sadly, Sat's reply on the same site is rather carefully crafted in an attempt to pervert a true representation of the sequence events.

How disappointing.


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Sat, you may think your kitchen banter makes good reading and is funny, it may be in the kitchen but once in the public domain I can only tell you that it makes you look like a first class prick. Nearly every complaint on tripadvisor is related to service issues yet you feel the need to respond to every single one, why not let it be? The good reviews outweigh the bad ones by a decent margin but gradually you are eroding that with your constant jibes. Sure you'll claim that you have been vindicated now that you have two stars and I have no doubt that you deserve them but consider whether you would rather be a great chef with a good reputation or "that wanker that slags people off on trip advisor".

Have a guess which one your are at the moment. :hmmm:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Quoth the response on Tripadvisor

In hindsight I wish we never charged him and he could of got himself a date with the cash!


Publically suggesting your clients should solicit an escort, even in jest, really /cannot/ be a good move...

Definitely one of those "stop digging now" moments!!!

Still looking forward to the book though!


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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'Thanks for your review, we have managed to get rid of the smell, it strangely disappeared when you left, funny that, just telling it as we saw.................

See you soon.

Sat. '

Wow, is this for real? That is not profedssional at all, even if it is just tripadvisor.

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Cheers for the fatherly advice Matthew,

Unfortunatley you fall into the catergory of being overly opiniated to concerns that are not your own, now stop stalking me!!

Unless you want to book a table, I've got one free on Thursday at 7.30pm. You could bring Howard. Let me know.

Speak soon,


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Hmm, "Businesman wants to run a profitable business shocker"?

El Bulli, The Fat Duck and The French Laundry all loose money and so Adria, Blumenthal and Keller have consultancies, books and diffusion restaurants to make a living, how can you object to someone without those other avenues trying to fill their Nottingham restaurant?

I can totally understand Sat wanting to optimise revenues and structuring his packages to ensure a 2 cover table gets 2 covers and not just one.

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I don't object to a cancellation policy, I object to the way he feels the need to put down customers. As for maximising tables that is fine as well but as Howard said, he booked a table for himself, the restaurant wrongly assumed that it was for two people.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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he booked a table for himself, the restaurant wrongly assumed that it was for two people.

From what's already been said, I don't he did.

What it appears he booked was their package deal of accommodation and dinner. The website clearly states this is for two people and the email which Howard received confirmed that.

John Hartley

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Hmm, "Businesman wants to run a profitable business shocker"?


I can totally understand Sat wanting to optimise revenues and structuring his packages to ensure a 2 cover table gets 2 covers and not just one.

The point seems to me that most probably he did not optimise revenues on this occasion, as he alienated a potentially very profitable customer (see his report on Keller) and presented a not very welcoming image to other potential customers.

I understand that restaurateurs do need to deter the truly hideous practice of irresponsible booking. But when there is the appearance of a genuine misunderstanding, I think that in the end they benefit financially from showing flexibility and hospitality even if this involves a small one-off cost (it would also make people happy rather than unhappy, which, after the primary objective of profit, seems a gratifying secondary objective for a restaurateur to consider).

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Just my own two cents. I've been following this from all the way across the Atlantic, in rural midcoast Maine. I doubt I'll ever get to the UK, to say nothing of attending the accommodations and dining at Sat Bains.

Anyhow, here's my take on this. It appears Sat runs a very good establishment, but pretty cocky and too quick to run his mouth when something doesn't suit him. At least when it comes to a bad review by a customer.

Howard seems to know what he's about when it comes to good food and lodging. But, when he's had a problem with a place, in this case Sat Bains, he takes to the "airwaves" so to speak. Maybe he feels this is his only recourse. Though the way Sat has replied, maybe it should be recoarse.

But, finally, it seems we have two ostentatious people, battling it out, and this was inevitable. Maybe they could settle their differences over a simple meal of corned beef hash, and cabbage, with a couple of good pints.

Edited by Country (log)
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I see on their respective Twitter pages Critical Couple and Sped98 are dining here tonight.

Both seem concerned about a camera ban :shock:

I think the likelyhood of that happening is a trillion to one.

There is more chance of them breaking down on the Motorway.

Remember that cancellation policy guys. :wink:

If you struggle at all, give me a call I'll come out and get you there on time :laugh:

Seriously though I'm really looking forward to those photos.

Its about time he had some photo exposure on here.


"So many places, so little time"



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I look forward to their reports and photos but I would be more impressed if they had gone anonymously instead of hoping for special treatment something you should avoid David as your name is now well known :smile:

Sid the Pig

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Ah, I just realised I never uploaded my pics from the Dev kitchen! I'm terrible at writing up this stuff, I wouldn't make much of a journalist.

Here we go

Pizza to start:


Smoked & BBQ'd bread:


Scallop, Tomato, Strawberry, Vanilla:


Organic Salmon, Oyster Soup, Passion Fruit, Miso:


English Duck, Asian Influences:


Girolle Mushrooms, Garlic, Watercress:


Summer Nitro Vegetables:




Roe Deer, Kofta, Burnt Aubergine, Cucumber, Yoghurt:


"The Crossover":


Strawberries & Cream:


Chocolate Cumin Caramel, Yoghurt:


Lime Tart:


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  • 1 month later...

I finally managed to get to Restaurant Sat Bains a couple of weeks ago.Beautiful rooms , Lovely meal ,enjoyable wines and an all round good night out.Full meal write up is on my Cumbriafoodie blog but heres the Menu that we had on the evening along with a pic from each course.

horseradish panna cotta, smoked bread, nettle puree, and a gastrique jus.

Duck egg cooked at 62 deg with peas, pea sorbet and Bellota ham

Scallops roasted , with chicory, coriander, seasame seeds, pumpkin seeds, shallots, textures of Squash and pumpkin oil.

'Allium', an aromatic bowl of caramelised shallots, a French onion soup, onion oil and crispy shallots.

Grey mullet with a Leek stew.

English Duck: duck liver parfait rolled in a duck ham, crispy duck skin and 'Asian influences' of peanuts, sweetcorn, shiitake mushrooms and spring onions with a plum puree

Pickled, salt baked and cured celeriac, served on a chicken and truffle jus

Wild hare served with quince, fresh pear, cauliflower and shavings of bitter chocolate. On the side is a little toast with tartare of hare.

Beetroot, goats cheese granita, lemon zest and a little salt

Sea Buckthorn with caramel, soft meringue and pine

Chocolate dish, served with coffee caramel, yoghurt foam and coffee shortbread

'Blackberry', served with almond granola, wood sorrel and vanilla ice cream













P1090876 - Copy.JPG

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  • 1 month later...

I'm looking forward to a visit here in a few weeks. It will be the fourth visit in 3 years and given the recent 'fuss' on the list - the third time as a 'single diner', proof that if you tell them they are happy to accomodate those of us who travel for work and occassionaly want a change from the Hilton club sandwich!

Recent photos seem to indicate even more artistry on the plate.


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  • 4 weeks later...

At an excellent meal there the other night. Food and service top class. Worthy of a 2* offering. It is my fourth visit and each one has been than the last.

The menu is simple - 7 or 10 courses. An extra course of egg & peas and a cheese course are also offered. I went for 10 courses plus cheese.

The meal started with an unadvertised dish. Given the size it wasn’t an amuse bouche but an extra course (an 11th). It was the postcode, this seems to have cropped up at various stages of the meal when I’ve been before, this time it was the start. Today it was a nettle soup served with some mixed leaves and a horseradish panacotta.

Bread arrived next and there was a choice of white or treacle served with a Lincolnshire butter.

The ordered food then started with langoustine served with charred leak and brawn. A single plump and tasty morsel set off by some flavoursome pig.

Next up was the most disappointing dish of the evening, a fish pie made with pollock. There was nothing wrong with it but it just didn’t have the wow factor of the rest of the meal.

Then came English duck with asian influences. A delightful dish to eat and look at. Sat Bains at his best.

Next was the excellent salt baked celeriac with chicken and truffle juices. Possibly my favourite dish of the evening amazingly flavoursome, appears to be really simple but the work that must go into getting those flavours must take hours.

A ‘deconstructed’ wardolf salad was served before the main course of fallow deer, cauliflower, 100% chocolate & quince. The salad was typical Sat, not what you expect from the name but a dish that was interesting, great to look at superb taste.The deer followed the high standard. My one ‘complaint’ is that I wanted more!

There was a choice of an extra cheese choice (£6.50). There were two possibilities and I went for the stilton with puff pastry and sultanas, apricot and blueberry. A really nice change from previous visits. Rather than a selection of good quality cheese, this gave the kitchen the chance to show their real skill.

A 'crossover' of beetroot icecream with vinegar and white chocolate preceded the first pudding of blueberries, tarragon, rocket and vanilla.

Then an excellent chocolate and coffee dish, followed. Finally the last dish of the evening - sea buckthorn.

I realise my descriptions lack the usual forum detail but this is from memory with no notes (or photos) taken. Also with the matched wines and a glass of fizz to start by the end the alcohol was taking its toll on my memory!

It is not cheap, with a glass of champagne to start, 10 courses, the additional cheese course, matching wines and a mint tea it came to around £215 inc service. You could save money by going for the 7 course menu, not drinking as much etc but I would prefer to come here once a year than my local Italian which always seem to cost £40 + five times a year!

If you haven't been, do go.

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