PREVIEW: Sat Bains at The Cube at the Royal Festival Hall

The Southbank Centre

The Royal Festival Hall is one of my favourite places in London. I regularly go there for gigs, or for drinks with friends on the balcony in the summer. I love the energy there, it is a lot of fun. From the musical lift (just try it) to disappearing rooms (a water installation which I hope comes back this summer), and the BFI just down the road, I spend a lot of time there, particularly in summer.

Murky but lovely London

Now there is a food angle too, with the arrival of The Cube on the roof of the Royal Festival Hall. Not quite a cube, more cubist, it is there for the summer and has some of the UKs best chefs cooking there. There are only 18 seats, and the menus are tailored, this is a really unusual experience.

Canapés on the balcony

Champagne reception before lunch

I used to be really terrified of heights, and I don’t know what has happened in this last year to stop that, but I was surprised to find myself wandering around the edge of The Cube, high up in the sky, soaking up the view. Big Ben, houses of parliament, the Thames, St Paul’s and others loomed below, and I peered out with no fear. Starting with a cocktail and canapés, which in my excitement I took no notes of (apologies), we spent half an hour soaking it all in.

Sat Bains at The Cube

Sat Bains was cooking today (future chefs will include Tom Kitchin, Claude Bosi and chefs Jonray and Peter Sanchez). It is quite an exciting space and is very bright with sunlight. Even on this grey day.

A room for London at the Queen Elizabeth Hall – how amazing would it be to stay here?!

The food was terrific and it was a perfect tasting menu with each dish lovely and each following even better, even the desserts which I usually have little time for. This was really excellent cooking and I was very impressed. Blow by blow detail follows with the photos below.

In my element (with a mini London Eye growing out of my head)

Prices are steep (I dined as a guest for the preview) – £175 for lunch and £215 for dinner (prices includes Champagne reception, a minimum 6 course tasting menu and matched wines) – but this is a special experience and very competitive when you compare it to the French Laundry pop up last year and Noma pop up this summer, both of which cost considerably more (the French Laundry pop up was £250 excl drinks). It is also very intimate, and you are encouraged to chat to the chef about the food as you go.

The dining room at The Cube

I loved it, and will go back again for more. I will also be going to Nottingham to try Sat’s food there, as soon as I can manage it.

Food pics and geekery follow. Booking details and all other info here:

NG7 2SA Soup – wild garlic & horseradish

Scallops with vanilla, tomato and elderflower mayonnaise. Served with a Provencal rose – really gorgeous, unexpectedly a brilliant combination

Jersey royal potato poached in dashi, Hungarian air dried ham, slow cooked pork belly, onion jus, finished with ramsons – a perfect dish for me (easy on the Irish comments! ;)

British spring lamb, burnt leek puree, dehydrated leeks, goats cheese puree rolled in leek ash, lemon puree, caper sauce

Beauvale blue cheese from Nottingham on a Banbury cake with tawny port syrup – a new cheese from Cropwell Bishop and Sat is the first to serve it – it was gorgeous, along the lines of roquefort. Served with a tawny port. (terrible phone photo – gobbled it up before I shot it!)

Chocolate with yogurt, cumin and lime. The cumin gave a divine smokiness and savouriness.

Treacle sponge with lemon and thyme

Fantastic white chocolate lollipop with beetroot and freeze dried raspberries

(Part of) the amazing view



Written by Niamh
Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.