Richmond is known for many things – including its astronomical house prices and the fact that local resident David Attenborough once described it as his ‘favourite place on earth’ – but its dining scene, not so much. Sustainable restaurant and bar The Fat Badger, then, feels like exactly the sort of hospitality venture it needs.
Set up by The Gladwin Brothers (who already own four London restaurants) and designed to evoke the rusticity of the British countryside, The Fat Badger’s approach to cooking feels reassuringly up to date. Sourcing many of its foraged ingredients from their own family farm and serving English wines (again, from their own Nutbourne Vineyard in West Sussex), these guys have their finger on the pulse when it comes to sustainable and seasonal cooking. The décor nods to the outdoorsy-ness of its ethos, too, with oak floors, dark green tones and artisan ceramic crockery.
The menu makes for an exciting read and we struggled to narrow down our choices. What we were sure about though, were the three words ‘Mushroom Marmite Eclairs’ which were little more than two bites of umami richness in a sweet choux bun and topped with confit egg yolk. For main course, sticky spatchcock partridge, barley and ground elder pesto was earthy and wholesome, but the real talking point is the selection of sides. We recommend a bowl of the golden nugget-like salt-baked potatoes, and the shaved brussels sprouts, which are speckled with candied walnuts and parmesan crisps. To finish, a salted caramel chocolate torte. We couldn’t quite taste the caramel, but no matter, for brandy-soaked grapes and a dollop of clotted cream were all the dish really needed.
Finally, do order one of the Nutbourne wines, not least because it was made a short drive up the road and it’s nice to support a local vineyard. The cosy bar, with its plush loungers and tables for two, is a wonderful place to enjoy a glass – and maybe one of those eclairs...