New Gastropub “The Fat Badger” Kicking Ass In The Old Le Gavroche Location

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by Andrew Morrison | Ed Perrow and chef Neil Taylor have officially opened the doors of their new eatery, The Fat Badger, at 1616 Alberni Street in Coal Harbour. If that address sounds familiar, it’s because it used to house the once revered Le Gavroche eatery, long celebrated for its shockingly deep collection of Old World red wines (it’s former owner, Manny Ferreira, moved on to open the award-winning Miradoro restaurant in the Okanagan). If Perrow and Taylor sound familiar, it’s because they also own/operate the well-received Espana eatery just down the road in the West End.

Scout broke the news of The Fat Badger’s coming at the end of February, which is to say that it’s been a pretty quick build. As you can see from the images below – if your memories of Le Gavroche serve you vividly – it’s a very different eatery than what it used to be, with bespoke high-top tables and buttoned-up banker’s banquettes, chalkboard menus, and a three-headed heroin hydra photograph of Spud, Renton, and Begbie from the film Trainspotting smiling mischievously down from the wall, sizing up all those assembled.

The feel is cozy enough, and though it doesn’t remotely resemble the sort of place that would make Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (at their silliest) feel at home, it’s a sight more genuine than any of the (regrettably many) cookie cutter “public house” pretenders that have, in recent years, soiled the milieu in Vancouver.

The drinks list reads almost the same as those in every high street pub from Penzance to Dover (all the typical brands and even a few Auntie specialties are represented), and the food isn’t as fancy as you would think given Taylor’s pedigree (he was the chef at Cibo before opening Espana, and before that he was at London’s River Cafe, once home to Jamie Oliver). That doesn’t mean the quality isn’t there. On the contrary, everything I’ve tried so far has been delicious. Think proper beer-battered fish and chips (the batter not too crispy and the chips nice and fat); decadent, flavour-locked Welsh rarebits held together by exquisitely crisped Irish cheddar; adorable miniature Yorkshire puddings mounted with slices of roast beef drowned in excellent gravy; bowls of salty pork scratchtings (built for the mouthwash of English beer); hot chicken tikka masala over fries (already nicknamed the “Empire Poutine”); and first-rate sticky toffee puddings.

The music, like the proprietors, is all British, which sort of wraps the whole restaurant up with a pretty ribbon, complete with billowing bow. During supper’s course (or two pints’ duration), one will typically hear David Bowie, The Clash, New Order, Joy Division, Led Zeppelin, The Smiths, The Rolling Stones and more, one after the agreeable other. I’m a sucker for a good soundtrack, and if I’m to be totally honest, it was the ooh-oohs of Emotional Rescue that had me on side the moment I walked in the door. Well, that and the fact that there wasn’t a television in sight.

The Fat Badger is open from 5pm, 7 nights a week (we can expect lunch service to launch before summer’s end). They don’t have a website yet, so use the photos below if you need convincing…

  • Exterior | The Fat Badger
    Exterior | The Fat Badger
  • LP Halfer | The Fat Badger
    LP Halfer | The Fat Badger
  • Interior | The Fat Badger
    Interior | The Fat Badger
  • Welsh rarebit | The Fat Badger
    Welsh rarebit | The Fat Badger
  • Writing the menu in chalk | The Fat Badger
    Writing the menu in chalk | The Fat Badger
  • Fish & Chips, natch | The Fat Badger
    Fish & Chips, natch | The Fat Badger
  • Bespoke hightops | The Fat Badger
    Bespoke hightops | The Fat Badger
  • Pork scratchings and beer | The Fat Badger
    Pork scratchings and beer | The Fat Badger
  • Natural light | The Fat Badger
    Natural light | The Fat Badger
  • "Empire Poutine" | The Fat Badger
    "Empire Poutine" | The Fat Badger
  • Interior | The Fat Badger
    Interior | The Fat Badger
  • Yorkshires with roast beef and gravy | The Fat Badger
    Yorkshires with roast beef and gravy | The Fat Badger
  • Interior | The Fat Badger
    Interior | The Fat Badger
  • Empire Poutine | The Fat Badger
    Empire Poutine | The Fat Badger
  • Bar | The Fat Badger
    Bar | The Fat Badger
  • Yorkies | The Fat Badger
    Yorkies | The Fat Badger
  • Light fixture | The Fat Badger
    Light fixture | The Fat Badger
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding | The Fat Badger
    Sticky Toffee Pudding | The Fat Badger
  • Patio | The Fat Badger
    Patio | The Fat Badger
  • Menu | The Fat Badger
    Menu | The Fat Badger
  • Trainspotting | The Fat Badger
    Trainspotting | The Fat Badger
  • Interior | The Fat Badger
    Interior | The Fat Badger
  • Interior | The Fat Badger
    Interior | The Fat Badger
  • Interior | The Fat Badger
    Interior | The Fat Badger
  • Signage (on its way outside) | The Fat Badger
    Signage (on its way outside) | The Fat Badger
  • Patio | The Fat Badger
    Patio | The Fat Badger

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

There are 6 comments

  1. Ha! Dude! At least this is the real deal; it is a genuine, classic British public house. That’s like saying, “Stop calling your restaurant a restaurant!” ; )

  2. Sounds good. If it’s legit i support it.

    I guess too many shitty places have co-opted “gastro pub” and “public house” to try and make themselves seem more high brow and have blown it for the real spots.

    Whenever I see those names used I think it’s just loaded with pretentiousness and put there by an owner who talks it but doesn’t back it.

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