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…
Reader T.R. | Above Coal Harbour | 6pm | Vancouver, BC | SHARE YOUR VIEW
We love posting the photographs that reveal the views from our reader’s windows. Whether it’s a back alley in the fall or a sandy beach in high summer, we’re always stoked to see what you see from home, work or while on the road. What does your view look like right now? Take a snap of it and send it in. Check out the gallery of our all-time reader submissions below… Read more
The GOODS from Hapa Izakaya
Vancouver, BC | Hapa Izakaya is hiring at all locations. For the front of house, we are seeking servers, bartenders and hosts who are energetic, hard-working, and looking for a fast-paced, fun environment. Applicants should have a passion for Japanese cuisine. Experience is an asset, but not mandatory. In the kitchen, we are looking for cooks with culinary experience, preferably with some Japanese influence. Japanese language skills are a definitely asset. Candidates may apply in person at Hapa Coal Harbour (909 West Cordova Street), Monday to Friday between 2:00pm-4:00pm, or Saturdays between 4:30pm-6:00pm. Learn more about the company after the jump… Read more
The West End and Coal Harbour are the two conjoined urban residential neighbourhoods on the west side of Thurlow Street. They are divided – Coal Harbour to the North facing Burrard Inlet and the West End to the south facing English Bay and Kitsilano – by Georgia Street, and capped in the northwest by the 1,001 acre Stanley Park with its half a million trees, Aquarium, and seawall.
Coal Harbour has gained the nickname “Cold Harbour” in recent years because it is often regarded by locals and outsiders to be bereft of anything to do, not to mention inhabitants. Indeed, it’s been reported that up to a quarter of its skyscraper condos are either empty or occupied for just a few months out of the year. That may be so, but to us that makes it only more of an interesting place to explore.
In stark contrast, The West End is positively teeming. Its main thoroughfares of Robson St., Denman St., and Davie St. make for great walking, and the area they enclose is a mix of old high rises and heritage homes with a lovely mix of low-rise deco apartment buildings thrown in for the sake of charm. Shopping dominates Robson – it has all the major big and generic brands from The Gap to Starbucks – but as it nears Denman it becomes all about food, especially Japanese and Korean. Denman’s nickname – Fatassenstrasse – was earned because for years its eateries were in the high sugar and fat business (Dairy Queen, Fatburger, Cupcakes, Pizza, Creampuffs, Chocolatiers). A new influx of restaurants in recent years – Italian, Spanish, Japanese – have slowed the sugar rush.
The West End is also home to Davie Village, which constitutes the strip of Davie between Burrard and Jervis. “The Gaybourhood”, as the strip is also called, is home to a vibrant, strong, and exceptionally proud LGBT community. The annual Gay Pride Parade takes place here every summer with 150 float and parade entries, 80,000 people partying on Sunset Beach, and over 700,000 attendees.
Dominating the West End’s cultural life are its beaches, of which there are several but none so central and attractive as the broad swathe of English Bay, which offers spectacular nightly sunsets and the annual Polar Bear swim on New Year’s Day.
Stanley Park winter forest tri-colour; Tableau Bar Bistro menu blue; a glass of local Pinot Noir on the patio at Raincity Grill; English Bay beach sand; Pride rainbow sidewalk crossing; the seawall loop in the rain; ubiquitous Coal Harbour skyline uniform tri-colour.
STILL HAMMERED REVELLERS JUMPING INTO THE FRIGID OCEAN ON NEW YEARS DAY
A STUNNING, CURVED (VERY RARE) MOSAIC ON THE WALL OF THE INDONESIAN CONSULATE
HOT BBQS AND COLD BEERS ON THIRD BEACH
RAINY WINTER DAY RESPITE IN THE TROPICAL EXHIBIT OF THE VANCOUVER AQUARIUM
THE ALWAYS INSPIRING GAY PRIDE FESTIVAL
27KM OF TRAILS WITHIN STANLEY PARK
THREE MORE STARBUCKS LOCATIONS THAN ARE NECESSARY
OUTDOOR MOVIES IN STANLEY PARK
MALKIN BOWL CONCERTS
THE RARE CRICKET GAME AT BROCKTON OVAL
FIREWORK FESTIVALS RUINED BY POLICE POUR-OUTS & SUBURBAN KIDS ARMED WITH KNIVES
A VAST HEATED OUTDOOR PUBLIC POOL AT SECOND BEACH
TWO OF THE BEST PIECES OF WATERFRONT REAL ESTATE IN THE WORLD OCCUPIED BY CHAIN RESTAURANTS (FACEPALM)
THE OLD & STILL VERY LOVELY SYLVIA HOTEL
SEA PLANES BOTHERING NIMBY ASSHATS
FATTY MISO TONKATSU RAMEN AT KINTARO
PATATAS BRAVAS AT ESPANA
PORK GYOZAS AT GYOZA KING
DUNGENESS CRAB & CHIVE OMELETTES AT RAINCITY GRILL
CHICKEN KARAAGE & OYSTERS AT HAPA IZAKAYA
BLACK TRUFFLE & PECORINO PIZZA AT MARKET
CARNAROLI RISOTTO ALLA MILANESE AT CINCIN
MACARONS AND PALMIERS FROM THIERRY
GALBI BBQ BEEF AT SURA KOREAN ROYAL CUISINE
NETTLE & FIDDLEHEAD GNOCCHI AT FORAGE
LIME MARGARITA & CHILE RELLENO AT LOLITA’S
VITELLO TONNATO AT ADESSO BISTRO
AHI TUNA & AVOCADO CARPACCIO AT KINGYO
OFF SALES AT THE DOVER ARMS PUB
CHARCOAL BROTH RAMEN AT MOTOMACHI SHOKUDO
- In 1859 coal was discovered along the Burrard Inlet west of Gastown. The site was subsequently referred to as (you guessed it) Coal Harbour.
- The Lumberman’s Arch in Stanley Park (c. 1952) is actually a smaller, reimagined version of the original “Bowie Arch”, which was demolished in 1947 due to deterioration.
- In 1923 the city took legal action to expel eight families of First Nations and European descent from Stanley Park. A “rent” fee of $1 month was collected until they were evicted in 1931.
- The Lost Lagoon fountain (erected 1936) was originally a leftover from the World’s Fair in Chicago.
- The famous Nine O’Clock Gun in Stanley Park was first fired in 1898 – at noon.
- In 1956, the Stanley Park Zoo welcomed the first penguin to be born in Canada. His name was “Little Whatzit”.
- Famed swim instructor and English Bay fixture Joe Fortes originally lived in a squatter’s shack near the Sylvia Hotel. He was awarded the title of Vancouver’s first official lifeguard in 1901.
- In 1974, following legislation that allowed the establishment of pubs, the Dover Arms on Denman opened as the first of its kind in the city.
- Although known for its sandy shores, sand is not native to English Bay; 1898 was the first year it was added to the beach.
- The West End was once known as “Blueblood Alley”, given its population of wealthy CPR executives in the early 20th century.
- Following World War II, a large German community settled near the northwest end of Robson, earning it the nickname Robsonstrasse.
by Andrew Morrison | When Le Gavroche closed last month after some 35 years in business at 1616 Alberni, I half expected to see its old Victorian shell knocked down in favour of some crappy condo that a prominent architect staffed out to a junior with a lazy eye. Despite the best efforts of Chef Robert Guest, the place felt done after longtime owner Manny Ferreira decamped for Miradoro in the Okanagan, which sort of explains why a bailiff had to eventually slap a notice on the locked front door exclaiming $80,000 in unpaid rent. To put it another way, nobody went.
The good news, of course, is that it’s not going to be demolished to make way for the kinds of buildings that have robbed Coal Harbour of the personality it used to have. It’s been picked up by chef Neil Taylor, Ed Perrow, and Georgia Goritsas, the same triumvirate that brought us Espana on Denman Street two years ago. They signed the deal on the space earlier today.
It’s going to be a proper British gastropub, which makes sense since both Perrow and Taylor are English imports.
They’re calling it The Fat Badger.
“Before we opened Espana,” Perrow says, “Neil and I always talked about a doing a proper pub when we sat and reminisced about the places we used to drink at in Chiswick and Hammersmith.” So what does a “proper pub” mean? I’ve been told to expect some local craft beers plus a few British classics (London Pride, Fullers, etc.), a little “by the glass” wine list, a handful of cocktails, and Neil’s always reliably good food. “We want to keep the menu small,” Perrow points out, adding that the goal is to change it two or three times a week, “depending on what we are getting in fresh from local suppliers.”
Taylor says we can anticipate a “casual, warm environment” with British gastropub-style dishes. At dinner, “you can expect to see dishes such as roast pork belly with colcannon; black pudding and cider; grilled lamb with pea purée, morels and mint sauce; roast cod with spinach, baby onions, wild mushrooms and red wine; and some classics like Lancashire hot pot and braised oxtail with suet dumplings. Appetizers could feature potted Dungeness crab with buttered toast, fried pigs trotters with English mustard, or jellied ham hock and rabbit terrine with piccalilly.”
And what about lunch?
“For lunch we will have a delicious burger with aged English cheddar or even Stilton; a daily pie such as fish, steak and kidney pudding, chicken, ham and leek; and soups such as cock-a-leekie, Cullen skink, or game and lentil. For desserts, we will have dishes like eton mess, sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream, treacle tart with custard, lemon meringue pie and arctic roll, homemade ice creams, and a great selection of British and Irish cheeses. Bar snacks could include black pudding scotched eggs with HP sauce, hand-cut fries with curry sauce, London pride battered cod and chips with tartare sauce.”
Sounds great, but will there be roast beef and Yorkshires? Yes. Every Sunday, The Fat Badger will be tabling a special traditional roast, be it rib of beef with Yorkshire puddings and horseradish “or roast leg of lamb with mint sauce or roast pork shoulder with hot English mustard and apple sauce.”
The Fat Badger will be open for lunch and dinner, with brunch service on the weekends. Hours will probably be 11am to 11pm. Expect a quick turnaround on this. I imagine they’ll be ready for their first service at some point in April.
The GOODS from Hapa Izakaya
Vancouver, BC | In support of the efforts to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan, Hapa Izakaya has announced today that they are now donating $1 from every edamame dish sold within Hapa’s Vancouver locations, between Friday, November 15 and Monday, December 9 to the Canadian Red Cross.
“Our hearts are saddened by the tragic devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan”, says owner, Justin Ault. “The Hapa family stands with their staff, friends and guests who have loved ones affected by the typhoon and hope this small gesture will provide some comfort to those greatly in need. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Donations collected will support the Canadian Red Cross to provide urgently-needed basic services to affected communities. This includes carrying out search and rescue operations, distributing food, and mobilizing items like blankets, clothing, hygiene kits and sleeping mats.
The GOODS from Le Parisien
Vancouver, BC | Le Parisien presents Beaujolais Nouveau on November 21. Beaujolais Nouveau Day is marked on the third Thursday of November with great festivities in France. Under French law, the wine is released at 12:01am, just weeks after the wine grapes have been harvested. Parties are held throughout the country and around the globe to celebrate this first wine of the season.
Le Parisien is celebrating this grand French tradition on Thursday, November 21 with a three-course family-style dinner, paired with Georges DuBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau. With a very short maceration of 3 to 5 days, followed by a traditional alcoholic fermentation and pressing, Georges DuBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is made with Gamay grapes, and is extremely low in tannin with fruity aromas and a bright transparent red hue. Guests will celebrate the release by gathering around communal tables to share in a decadent meal, while sipping on fresh unadulterated wine. This joyous occasion will be accompanied by a live performance from local French vocalist, Pepper Bayard. Details and menu after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Music Direction
Vancouver, BC | Music Direction’s branded playlist for November goes back to our roots. It’s chock-full of Canadian goodness; a playlist that builds a sense of place and the kind of connection to a local community that Robson’s Forage Restaurant exemplifies. It includes Ancient Mars by The Zolas. The Beat Stuff by Hannah Georgas, Free Man in Paris by Joni Mitchell, Wondering Where the Lions Are by Bruce Cockburn, Bleed a Little While Tonight by Jeremy Fisher, Keeping Time by Steph Macpherson, Haiti by Arcade Fire, Weighty Ghost by Wintersleep, Bahamas by Caught Me Thinkin, On Your Own by The Matinee, This Tornado Loves You by Neko Case, and Sugar Mama by The Deep Dark Woods. Unpretentious and gratifying. Music Direction designs branded playlists for experience-conscious businesses. We believe that music is an effective marketing tool; the strategic selection of music can help communicate and strengthen a brand’s identity. The right music at the right time can influence consumer behaviour and increase sales. Have a listen by pressing play, then learn more after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Tableau Bar Bistro
Vancouver, BC | Today, Tableau Bar Bistro is pleased to officially make two long-awaited announcements: Henry Wong is promoted to Executive Sous Chef and Alain Canuel is named new restaurant manager. Diners can expect a fresh focus on creativity in the kitchen thanks to Chef Henry, while Alain brings a charismatic leadership style and a passion for exceeding guests’ expectations. Armed with decades of experience and possessing undeniable talent, both are welcomed assets to Tableau Bar Bistro’s award-winning team.
A proud local, Executive Sous Chef Henry Wong was born and raised in Vancouver and spent much of his childhood at his parent’s restaurants, learning his way around a kitchen at a young age. He honed his skills at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in Vancouver and finished a formal three-year apprenticeship at Lumière restaurant, training under chef Marc-André Choquette and chef Rob Feenie. He continued his culinary journey in San Francisco, Hong Kong and Montreal, where he worked at various Michelin-starred restaurants learning from renowned chefs, such as chef Corey Lee. In 1998, Chef Henry helped open Cibo Trattoria and Uva Wine Bar before settling at the Loden Hotel in 2008, again under the wing of Marc-André Choquette, Executive Chef (Chef MAC) at Tableau Bar Bistro. Read more
News from Scout supporter Miku
Vancouver, BC | Seigo Nakamura’s brand new Miku Restaurant has finally opened its doors in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighbour today (liquor license pending and should be resolved by end of the week). Located at 70-200 Granville Street, the restaurant boasts a stunning waterfront view with a wrap-around patio, U-shaped bar, and beautiful hand-painted murals by Japanese artist Hideki Kimura. Alongside its popular Aburi “flame-seared” sushi is a menu that has more fresh seafood options, bar dishes, and cocktails and sakes.
“Many of our customers have called and emailed in the past months to ask when we were reopening again and the team at Aburi Restaurants Canada are so excited to unveil the new Miku to the public,” explains Nakamura, President and Owner of Aburi Restaurants Canada. “This Miku is much more spacious than the old location. We can’t wait for guests to try our new menu items while gazing out at the view or simply sipping on a sake cocktail at the bar.”
Designed by top B.C. firm SSDG Interiors, the new Miku is about 5,400 square-feet in size with 210 combined seats in its main dining room, U-shaped bar, patio, and sushi bar. The restaurant is surrounded by glass and windows – highlighting the breathtaking Vancouver waterfront view. Read more
A boutique hotel straddling the divide between downtown and Coal Harbour, The Loden is a real beauty, especially its Tableau Bar Bistro, where attention to detail is the order of the day. If you’re feeling peckish on your cocktail prowl, get the steak frites — one of the best in town. Tableau has it all: top drawer French bistro fare, excellent service, knowledgeable bartenders, and a good local crowd.
The Drink(s) | Billed as “A Great Way To Start The Day” the 1181 is the Loden’s take on the classic French 75 (Proseco, a mix of Effervé orange, lemon, pink and pomegranate lemonades, Beefeater gin, Giffard Elderflower syrup). Also worth a sip, The Aphrodite (dry vermouth, Green Chartreuse, Benedictine, lemon juice, Aphrodite bitters. Tart, floral and herbal, this is inspired by the Chrysanthemum cocktail, the “Aphrodite” name comes from the Chrysanthemum aphrodite species.
Tableau Bar Bistro | The Loden Hotel | 1177 Melville Street | WEBSITE
The Fairmont Pacific Rim in Coal Harbour is one of Vancouver’s newest hotels. It’s a real beauty with a slick, cosmopolitan vibe that makes one feel like they could be anywhere in the world. That is, any place other than Vancouver. Despite its views and proximity to the ocean, it doesn’t scream “local” in the same way that, say, Yew does in the Four Seasons. Be that as it may, any coddling, anonymous cloister can be a wonderfully enabling thing. Indeed, the main floor Lobby Lounge makes for the perfect venue to slip into whenever you either want to be left alone or are just keen to pretend that you’re somewhere else. It’s open, airy, littered with orchids and punctuated by a Fazioli piano, which is brought to life on most evenings by talented jazz or classical musicians. The service is also spot on.
The Drink | Crafted in celebration of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s excellent Grand Hotel Exhibition, The Grand Hotel cocktail is made with Grand Marnier, Cognac, house-made sweet vermouth and house-made, barrel-aged bitters. It’s pricy at $16, but it’s fantastic on the tongue and very well made. What’s more, putting a price on anonymity or fantasy – should you require either – sort of ruins the game.
The Lobby Lounge | The Fairmont Pacific Rim | 1038 Canada Place | WEBSITE
By John Gattey | Our second episode in the Fed By Hand series profiles James Coleridge and his exceptional gelato at Bella Gelateria. When you step into James’ Coal Harbour shop, the first thing that strikes you is his incredible enthusiasm. If he’s not happily encouraging you to taste through his menu (with an army of tiny plastic spoons at-the-ready), then he’s likely extolling the virtues of the old-world processes employed in crafting all of his beautiful flavours. It’s a passion that comes through in his products.
Bella is the real deal. Last year they won both the technical jury prize and the people’s choice award at the Florence Gelato Festival in Italy. It’s not hard to see why. There is a clarity of flavour here that I’ve never experienced in gelato before. You can’t go wrong with classics like lemon, bright in citrus balancing tart and sweet delicately, or with their incredibly creamy hazelnut, the toasted notes of which making it (and this is strange to say for an iced dessert) almost warming. And if you’re one to experiment, try either the black sesame and salted chocolate.
Fed by Hand is a web series produced in Vancouver by the Gattey brothers (John, a professional cook and aspiring vagabond, and David, a fully-dedicated film geek). The series is dedicated to honest eating – the sort of simple, wholesome fare that satisfies stomach and soul – and the shining of spotlights on the people that make it possible.
by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked Douglas Adams’ cult novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.
Why You Should Read It Again: Published in 1979 from a series of Radio Shows, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is the first novel in a 5 part saga. It’s about a huge number of things. Among these are space travel, the end of the world, the fabrication of planets, the quest for answers to the ultimate questions of life, the universe, and everything. It’s a very easy read.
Pair it With: A pint of bitter at the Alibi Room (157 Alexander in Gastown) whilst channelling the main character, a hapless Englishman named Arthur Dent (preferably in a dressing gown). But be quick about it. Because the world is about to end in order to make way for a hyperspace bypass.