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Scotch egg served at the The Fat Badger, a British gastro-pub in downtown Vancouver, B.C. on July 8, 2014.

Jimmy Jeong/The Globe and Mail

2.5 out of 4 stars

Name
The Fat Badger
Location
1616 Alberni St., Vancouver, British Columbia
Phone
604-336-5577
Price
Bar snacks and starters, $5 to $13; mains, $14 to $23
Cuisine
British gastro-pub
Additional Info
Open daily, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Lunch/brunch/Sunday roast beginning July 16

Who

The folks behind Espana restaurant – executive chef Neil Taylor, partners Edward Perrow and Georgia Goritsas – have opened a second West End restaurant.

What

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The Fat Badger is an exemplary gastro-pub that channels the chef's British heritage. Mr. Taylor hails from Berkshire, England. A daily changing chalkboard menu tweaks the British pub canon with local, seasonal ingredients and a refined touch.

Where

The 19th century home that had housed fine-dining Le Gavroche since 1978 has been transformed into a dark, cozy lair with sage-grey walls, tufted leather hunter-green banquettes and long communal tables carved from reclaimed Douglas fir.

Vibe

Laid back and convivial with a hugely hummable Brit-hit soundtrack – everything from the Specials to the Rolling Stones – played quietly in the early evening, then cranked up later when the lineups started forming.

Drinks

The beer menu is 100-per-cent British with nine taps pouring imperial pints of Fuller's, Guinness, Kilkenny, Smithwick's, Innis & Gunn and cider. There is no cask ale, unfortunately. Bottles and cans include a relatively rare lineup that includes McEwan's Scotch Ale, Orkney Skull Splitter, Wells Banana Bread and Old Speckled Hen. Limited wines are available by the glass and bottle. A small classic English cocktail list will be introduced soon.

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Bar snacks

A fun bite-sized menu ($5 to $10) includes soft-yolk Scotch eggs in a puddle of tangy HP sauce and the tongue-in-cheek Imperial poutine – chips doused in spicy chicken masala, cilantro, paneer and cheese curds.

Starters

Fresh salads and seasonal stuffed zucchini flowers reflect the relatively new lightness and brightness found in English cuisine. Warm potato and smoked mackerel salad is stained pink by beets and dotted with tiny yellow quail eggs. Mini Yorkshire puddings have buttery crusts, tender slices of perfectly pink medium-rare roast beef, divine dark-brown gravy and nasal-hot horseradish crème fraîche. Black pudding on toast – pan-seared to a crispy crust and larded up with silky pork fat – is generously sprinkled with morels and chanterelles and rounded out with the oozing yolk of a perfectly soft poached egg

Mains

Yes, they have fish and chips with mushy peas and house-made tartare. But there's also roast sockeye salmon with beet greens and cheddar fritters. Pies and tarts with flaky pastry and fresh sides change daily. Irish porter beer bangers (from Windsor Meats) are served on a bed of velvety mashed potatoes with fried sage and superbly sweet veal-and-pork gravy.

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Desserts

Four are served each night, including a decadent sticky toffee pudding bathed in butterscotch and the light, airy Eton Mess thrown together with meringue, whipped cream and B.C. cherries.

Coming soon

As of July 16, The Fat Badger will be open for lunch and brunch. A home-style roast will be served on Sunday afternoons.

Over all

From playlist to puddings, they've nailed it.

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About the Author
Vancouver restaurant critic

Alexandra Gill has been The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver restaurant critic since 2005. She joined the paper as a summer intern in 1997 and was hired full-time as an entertainment columnist the following year. In 2001, she moved to Vancouver as the Western Arts Correspondent, a position she held until 2007. More

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