For a pub, the Fat Badger has received several column inches of critical attention over the years. I suppose that the Fat Badger is a gastro pub that does all the right things like focus on high quality seasonal produce and “old school” British dishes with an original twist. For these reasons it has been blessed or blighted by visits from every restaurant critic. Fay Maschler was charmed by the Fat Badger’s name and Giles Coren was, true to form, focused on the wallpaper and the water rather than the food (in his defence, the wallpaper replete with scenes of bag ladies, shootings and the Gerkhin is rather eye catching). When they get to the food though, all the critics do seem to be in rapturous agreement as to its excellence and ingenuity. I am not sure that the Fat Badger lived up to these exalted expectations.
Don’t get me wrong, our table was in agreement that starters of Celery and Cashel Blue Soup and Salad of Beetroot, Apple, Celery and Walnut hit the spot. They were innovative and unusual combinations of flavours that worked well together. However, the rest of our meal was satisfying, good food, but in no way was it ground breaking or even creative.
MTV boyfriend ordered the Marinated Bavette with Tomato and Cumin Chutney (picture above). This was a fancy way of saying that he had steak and chips, his favourite meal. Delicious he said. Melt in the mouth meat. Being more gastronomically adventurous than MTV boyfriend (this is not saying much) I opted for the Spatchcock Poussin with chilli, garlic and rosemary oil. What I got was basic chicken and chips. Not looking quite so adventurous now I admit.
Similarly, dessert options of Lemon and Elderflower Cake with Strawberry Preserves and Vanilla Ice Cream with Amaretti Biscuits and Chocolate Sauce sounded somewhat more exciting than what they were: cake and ice cream with biscuits on top.
It was all tasty food, in a cosy pub environment so I have no cause to complain. I just shouldn’t have read all those glowing reviews before I went.