The Fat Badger review: unearthing the best of British flavours
Dig into delicious seasonal fare at this Thames-side dining den in London’s Richmond
Local resident David Attenborough once described Richmond as his favourite place on Earth, and with the southwest London borough’s famous park on his doorstep, the attraction is clear.
Now, locals are enjoying a fresh taste of this winning blend of rural and city living at a new dining spot named after another English icon. Launched last November, The Fat Badger is a welcomingly laid-back bistro overlooking the River Thames, just a short waddle from Richmond’s bustling centre.
This already popular venue is the fifth addition to the Local & Wild Group run by brothers Richard, Oliver and Gregory Gladwin, the trio behind Notting Hill’s The Shed, Rabbit on the King’s Road, Nutbourne in Battersea, and Sussex in Soho. The brothers bring a wealth of expertise to the table as, respectively, a restaurateur, a chef and a farmer. And they’re using their combined skills to serve up seasonal British cuisine made from sustainable produce sourced locally and from the Gladwin family’s farm and vineyard in Sussex.
Sustainability push aside, wildlife lovers may be relieved to hear that no actual badgers are on the menu at the brothers’ latest London opening. But fellow diners were tucking into a range of more traditional meats when I arrived with my other half to try the bistro’s “Sundays on the Farm” lunch.
In keeping with the countryside vibe, The Fat Badger is light-filled and spacious, with oak parquet floors and midnight blue walls, dangling flora and fauna, and simple wood-topped tables – think village pub meets French brasserie.
Likewise, most of the food being dished out during our recent visit could be summed up as chic takes on British classics. Sadly, traditional roast options including Sussex sirloin and Dorset lamb saddle were wasted on my vegetarian companion, while I was won over by our friendly waiter’s description of the other meat-free main on offer: spiced yellow cauliflower with spinach and a raisin and caper sauce. But the veggie was more than happy with his roast hazelnut and cranberry terrine, and the accompanying crispy and light Yorkshire puddings.
Meanwhile, my overnight-marinated cauli exceeded my already high expectations and then some. The selection of sides deserve extremely high praise too, especially the rosemary salt-baked potatoes that were a lesson in the proper preparation of quality spuds.
I also loved the umami richness of The Fat Badger’s “signature” mushroom Marmite éclair, although in keeping with the Marmite slogan, my other half did not. But while all those irresistible extras left me feeling too full for pudding, he gamefully pushed on with a white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake that was richly indulgent but in no way sickly.
Along with a wealth of fine food, The Fat Badger has a well-stocked bar for lunches of the more liquid variety. In keeping with the Gladwins’ “what grows together, goes together” ethos, the drinks menu features award-winning wines from their Nutbourne Vineyard. And The Fat Badger’s inventive range of seasonal cocktails look likely to leave creatures both great and small reeling.
We played it safe and finished off our meal with mocktails, of which our favourite was the Fizzy Apple, a zingy blend of apple juice, ginger beer, lime juice and mint.
Then it was time to roll home feeling, like the bistro’s namesake, happily but healthily well-rounded.
15-17 Hill Rise, Richmond, TW10 6UQ; thefatbadger-restaurant.com