Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
Basement Sate is in an easy to reach location on Broadwick Street (just off Berwick Street), London just five minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus tube station. It is not however particularly easy to find as it’s just a door off the street leading to the basement bar and kitchen. Once I had walked up and down a couple of times looking for number 8 and found someone else doing the same thing we located it and went down into the comfy bar and kitchen area. Basement Sate is unique in that is specialises in Cocktails and Desserts, both of which you can take classes in. The cocktail classes would be good for a group of friends as they are suitable for up to 12 people.
The pastry classes suit 5 to 6 people and are held by head chef Kelly Nadjarian who is distinctively French. The classes are not what you would call ordinary pastry they are high class patisserie making a selection of French delicacies. Kelly choses a different dessert for each lesson and ours was the very complex Saint Honore. A puff pastry base, caramel covered choux buns filled with white chocolate Chantilly cream and piped mascarpone Chantilly cream in the centre, probably about a million calories!
Kelly is passionate about her patisserie that shone through every time she spoke, and has worked in many top restaurants both in London and Paris which was a little daunting to start with. She broke all the elements down of the dessert down separately though so each element seemed fairly simple if precise and time consuming. She is professional yet informal in her style and no one felt embarrassed to ask questions throughout the process. There were five of us on the course and it was our first time working in a professional kitchen, with professional equipment we weren’t used to using such as induction hobs and tray ovens, it was all very interesting. We teamed up into pairs and moved on to the first part of the recipes, the chocolate and Chantilly cream. Kelly’s mantra is to get good food you have to use good ingredients and she talked us through the types of chocolate required to produce a good finish. Following on from this it was the more complex choux pastry. We were shown each step and Kelly helped out where necessary, then came the piping of the mixture on to the tray, definitely not as easy as it looks!
Whilst the choux buns were cooking we prepared the mascarpone cream and then cooked the puff pastry that Kelly had prepared earlier. It was then time to build up the dessert using all the separate parts we had prepared. The lesson was stated as 1-3pm but it took much longer to make St Honore as it is a complex dish and it was more like 4pm when we sat down to taste our afternoons work with a glass of water. It was absolutely delicious but I could actually feel myself putting weight on as it ate it!
The pastry class at Basement Sate is the perfect way to have a taste of working in a professional kitchen with a top class chef. While I may not be making that exact desert again, with a toddler I can’t see me having the have time, I will certainly make some of the components such as the choux buns something I wouldn’t have attempted before. I learnt a lot in a short space of time and recommend it for any budding chefs or those with a sweet tooth and love of desserts.
For more information or to book a class visit www.basementsate.com.
Basement Sate, 8 Broadwick Street (red door downstairs), London, W1F 8HN