Restaurant Rating: The Fat Badger, Richmond, London

Local resident David Attenborough once described Richmond as his favorite place on earth, and with the south-west London borough’s famous park on his doorstep, the appeal is clear.

Now locals can enjoy a fresh taste of this successful mix of country and city living at a new restaurant named after another English icon. Opened last November, The Fat Badger is a welcoming relaxed bistro overlooking the River Thames, just a short stroll from bustling Richmond centre.

This already popular venue is the fifth member of the Local & Wild Group, run by brothers Richard, Oliver and Gregory Gladwin, the trio behind Notting Hills The Shed, Rabbit on the King’s Road, Nutbourne in Battersea and Sussex in Soho. The brothers have a lot of experience as restaurateurs, cooks and farmers. And they use their combined skills to serve seasonal British cuisine made from sustainable local produce and from the Gladwin family’s farm and vineyard in Sussex.

Sustainability aside, animal lovers might be relieved to know that the brothers’ recent London opening didn’t feature actual badgers on the menu. But other diners were in the process of tucking into a selection of more traditional meat dishes when I arrived with my other half to try the bistro’s ‘Sundays on the Farm’ lunch.

The Fat Badger Bistro interior

In keeping with the country atmosphere, The Fat Badger is light-filled and spacious, with oak parquet floors and midnight blue walls, dangling flora and fauna and simple wooden tables – think village pub meets French brasserie.

Likewise, most of the food served on our last visit could be summed up as chic takes on British classics. Unfortunately, traditional roast options like Sussex sirloin and Dorset rack of lamb were wasted on my vegetarian companion, while I was won over by our friendly waiter’s description of the other meatless main course: spiced yellow cauliflower with spinach and a raisin and caper sauce. But the vegetarian was more than satisfied with his roasted hazelnut and cranberry terrine and accompanying crunchy and light dish Yorkshire puddings.

Meanwhile, my overnight marinated Cauli exceeded my already high expectations and then some. The selection of side dishes also deserves kudos, particularly the potatoes baked in rosemary salt, which were a lesson in the proper preparation of quality potatoes.

I also loved the umami richness of The Fat Badger’s “signature” mushroom Marmite éclair, although, true to the Marmite slogan, my other half didn’t. But while all those irresistible extras left me too full for pudding, he playfully continued with a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake that was plenty indulgent but in no way sickly.

In addition to an abundance of fine dining, The Fat Badger has a well-stocked bar for lunchtime options with liquid fare. In keeping with the Gladwins ethos of ‘whatever goes together, goes together’ the drinks menu features award-winning wines from their Nutbourne Vineyard. And the imaginative menu of seasonal cocktails at The Fat Badger is likely to make creatures both large and small stagger.

Playing it safe, we finished our meal with mocktails, our favorite of which was the Fizzy Apple, a zesty concoction of apple juice, ginger beer, lime juice and mint.

Then it was time to roll home and, like the bistro’s namesake, feel happy but healthy.

15-17 Hill Rise, Richmond, TW10 6UQ; Restaurant Rating: The Fat Badger, Richmond, London

Fry Electronics Team

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