For the American half of me, I really enjoy the celebration of Thanksgiving, especially if it’s just a holiday excuse for me to eat nice food with all the trimmings.
Of course, Thanksgiving is more than that. It’s all about celebrating the gratitude we have for the amazing family and friends in our lives. I spent my unofficial Thanksgiving evening at the Fat Bear, the lovely establishment of good friends Gareth, Judy and Lewis. They also recently won the London Love awards from Timeout Magazine! Congrats and hats off to you guys!
Having tried their American New Orleans inspired menu, I have to say the food was sassy and sensational. Here is why:
The Decor and Vibe:
Tucked away in the winding alleyways of Blackfriars, it took a native Londoner like Mr. New Yorker to make sure my map-reading-challenged self did not get lost. Once inside, the cosy candles and well-stocked bar made the Fat Bear the sort of place you would take your friends to for a long overdue catch up. The inside just oozed of warm welcome in the shape of a large bear hug.
Do not leave until you have tried a little number (or two) from the cocktail menu. The bartender here will make sure it’s well shaken and not stirred. My Ruby Fizz looked like Christmas in a glass with frozen blueberries and Hayman’s Sloe Gin topped with egg white. Meanwhile, Simon happily sipped his Rootbeer Flats made with Mauritius Club Rum, sometimes a rare offering in London restaurants!
The menu here was packed with good options. We suffered from a serious case of indecisiveness. Ultimately, we returned for a second time in the same week to try dishes we simply had to pass on the first visit!
For us, the winner of the night was the meaty Game Gumbo in a classic Creole style stew. Every type of game meat were tossed in for good measure (boar, venison, and pheasant), and topped with a confit duck leg. I couldn’t pass up on my seafood fix with the Scallop, Prawn, and Salmon jambalaya, and it proved to hit the spot perfectly.
The side dishes also stole the show. Tater tots (potato hash browns) filled with bacon, cheddar and jalapeños were a revelation. Equally, I vowed to coat my root vegetables with honey after tasting the glazed Creole vegetables topped with sesame seeds.
Lastly, need I say more with the dish called Truffled Mac’n’Cheese Fritters? My thoughts exactly and no wonder it was a best selling dish! Mac’n’Cheese is my ultimate comfort meal when I feel home sick. The Fat Bear infused this little parcel with truffle and then tossed around in panko crumbs before serving with a side of apple and chill chutney. Wow…
The value for money here is so good that I highly recommend not to underestimate how filling these dishes might be. They might look innocent, but actually they pack you up nicely! The portions here were generous and certainly hearty in the American sense. Perfect for Thanksgiving.
For dessert, I simply had no room left despite all of the options looking rather divine. I opted for a nice sundae of pistachio, strawberry and vanilla ice-cream called Spomone. Say it after me in a heavy Italian accent, Spomone! If there was one item I would recommend, it would be the bacon donuts. You can’t miss it, an unusual combination with a rebellious take of the American classic guilty pleasure. And you can even take some home… ;-D
Upstairs at the Rising Sun Pub, 61 Carter Ln, London EC4V 5DY