I had a little dose of British food at The Abbey the other week, so I thought I’d finally go try the other newish British gastropub in town, The Fat Badger. While The Abbey has quite a few British-inspired dishes like Welsh Rarebit, Lancashire Hotpot and Sausages & Mash, The Fat Badger is actually a full-on British gastropub experience, with a full British menu, all British beers on tap and a UK-focused playlist on the sound system.
The Fat Badger on Alberni St. near Cardero in the old Le Gavroche space. Not to be confused with The Fat Badger in the UK.
The restaurant is upstairs. They’ve also got a nice patio, if you’re into that sort of thing.
“…if we built this large wooden Badger…”
Once you walk in, you’ll see their chalkboard menu on your right. Plus air con 😉
View of the room. I see a couple nice long tables.
Trainspotting photo. Nice. The actual bar is through the doorway.
The people behind The Fat Badger are actually behind España on Denman St. as well. I gotta try España one of these days…
Their beer list won’t excite the beer geeks but I don’t mind as long as the food is top notch. If you’re really a stickler, you can have an Orkney Skull Splitter, which according to Beer Advocate is a world-class scotch ale/wee heavy style beer.
I like their list of “Soft Stuff”.
They serve real 20oz imperial pints here. I’m glad they do half-pints for exactly half the price of full pints. Fair and honest.
Their menu changes every day. They post their new menus on their Instagram page. We went with a Scotch Egg, Mini Yorkshire Puddings and Roast Pork Belly.
Double-fisting some Fullers 🙂 Fullers London Pride on the left and Fullers IPA on the right. Damn those glasses are dirty! ARGGG! You ever notice at some bars they have a glass rinsing contraption where the bartender puts a glass upside-down on it and it sprays water into the glass? That’s what it’s for — to rinse and clean out any residual dust/detergent/whatever out of the glass so you get a clean pour. The latent carbonation in the beer latches onto those microscopic bits of dust causing all those bubbles that you see. Bad bad bad…and kinda gross if you think about it…which you will now cuz I told you. Sorry.
The main flavour I got from the Fullers London Pride was sweet caramel, but in a British sessionable sort of way. The Fullers IPA was…mild…very English style of IPA. These weren’t super interesting beers but I think they work well with the food.
I can’t do a review of this place without mentioning my favourite part: THE MUSIC. Where in Vancouver have you ever heard tracks like these while eating top notch food? A sampling:
Back to the food!
Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Roast Beef, Gravy and Horseradish. This was the dish I enjoyed the least. After seeing it on countless food programmes, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Maybe I build it up in my head too much? Batter poured into a hot muffin pan with fat, puffs up like a souffle… I think I was expecting the outside to be crispy. For what it is, it was ok. I’m glad I tried it. The gravy was very nice.
The texture is like a fluffy cruller (donut) except not sweet. Maybe you have to grow up eating these to really enjoy them…
Now HERE’S the real deal: Scotch Egg with HP Sauce. Good lord! I like these much better than the ones at Bitter in Gastown.
This had it all…gooey egg yolk, well-seasoned sausage mixture, crispy/crunchy coating, tangy HP sauce… It all went down really well with both my beers. One order of these is a great bar snack. Three orders would be a slammin’ meal! 😀
The brown food invasion isn’t over yet! Roast Pork Belly with Champ, Black Pudding, Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Red Wine. “Champ” is mashed potatoes with butter, milk and green onions.
My god, look at that crackling. I love the way they scored the rind. It really increases the fun and flavour factor of an already top-notch crackling. Just look:
When you cut into the pork belly, the crackling breaks easily into somewhat predictable pieces. If you love crispy crackling, this dish will make you go out of your mind! The meat part of the belly wasn’t cooked to the level of melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, but had texture, flavour and resistance. It screamed out “you’re eating meat!” and not just mush. So satisfying.
The black pudding had delectable chunks of fat in it, which went great with the ironiness of the blood. The texture of the black pudding was very light. Not dense or stodgy at all.
All the elements of this dish worked well together, even the slow roasted tomatoes, which had a sweet/sour thing going…I think maybe a touch of vinegar was added? The red wine gravy was also a great supporting actor for the rest of the dish, seeping into and lubricating every bite. I’d be completely happy ordering this again. It’s a huge serving and will leave you satiated for hours 😉
Their desserts (“puddings”) change sometimes, but we were told that Sticky Toffee Pudding would probably stay on the menu. Good thing too:
Dense, liquid-soaked cake (with dates incorporated somehow) sitting in a sweet-but-not-too-sweet butterscotch sauce with vanilla ice cream on top.
I don’t usually do desserts but no mortal can resist this.
The flavours might remind you of Werther’s Original candies. The warm caramelly sauce played up so well with the cold vanilla ice cream. Wicca went to town on this bowl. It couldn’t stand a chance.
Meanwhile I pulverized the rest of the pork belly. I’ll scrape it cleaner next time.
Finishing off with an Innis & Gunn oak aged beer. I used to drink I&G many years ago when I first started getting into beer. Nowadays I find I&G beers a little too harsh, with it’s brutish oak/whiskey/rum presence, depending on which flavour you get. A bit gimmicky, but if you enjoy them, more power to you!
Really well-executed cooking at The Fat Badger. The service is friendly and knowledgeable. We were here a bit earlier in the evening so it wasn’t too busy and we loved it. I really enjoyed the music and got into a happy zone, like I could stay there for hours. Indeed the British beers here ARE the ones you could leisurely drink over the course of hours, and the food is delicious. The concept and execution here really work. The only lingering minus is the dirty glassware. I should probably shoot them an email about that…