The team behind España restaurant has opened a second restaurant in the West End. Edward Perrow and Neil Taylor are the owners of The Fat Badger (1616 Alberni Street), which opened last week in the old Le Gavroche spot.
While the focus at España is Spanish tapas, the emphasis at The Fat Badger is British pub food. Taylor, who is executive chef, hails from Berkshire, England, so the grub is authentic. A chalkboard menu is updated daily, and the offerings aren’t your typical chicken strips and burgers pub fare.
Starters ($8 to $12) include sautéed black pudding—yes, that’s English for “blood sausage”—served with lentils, watercress, a soft-boiled egg, and mustard. There's also a house-made game terrine plated with fruity Cumberland sauce, gherkins, and toast.
The main menu ($14 to $22) boasts a chicken and mushroom pie with mashed potatoes and buttered carrots, as well as steak and chips topped with Stilton cheese and port butter. Black pudding reappears on a plate with crispy pork belly, and colcannon (an Irish potato and cabbage dish), and vegetarians can try the leek, Cheddar, and thyme tart. Brit pub staples like beer-battered cod and chips—served with a side of mushy peas—ground the uncomplicated menu.
With nine taps—all of which feature English, Irish, and Scottish beers—on site, The Fat Badger also offers a bar snacks menu ($4 to $10). A chip butty—the unapologetically British french-fry sandwich—might hit the spot for some diners, while others may prefer a Scotch egg (a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage and breadcrumbs) with their pint. In a nod to India’s influence on British food, Taylor has created a poutine-type dish made with chips, chicken tikka masala, and paneer curds.
When I visited The Fat Badger on June 10, just five days after its opening, the restaurant was full and energetic. The room has barely a trace of its fine-dining past. Dark wood furniture and British racing-green banquette seating give the room a no-fuss feel. There’s music playing but not the blasting of TV screens typical of other Vancouver pubs. Perrow, who was formerly managing partner at Bins 941 and 942, leads front-of-house. Service is warm and friendly.
If you save room for dessert—and you should, since there are four to choose from each night—go for the sticky toffee pudding. It’s topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and hot butterscotch sauce. The perfect ending to a short culinary trip across the Atlantic.