Monday, 21 April 2014

Fat Duck Gastro Pub

210 Kortright Road West
Guelph, Ontario


In her opinion:
We are always on the quest for new and interesting places to eat near home. This is often easier said then actually done. But this last Saturday we found one such place. The restaurant's name is actually funny if you are a foodie and are familiar with the chef Heston Blumenthal! It's funny because unlike its Michelin starred British namesake "The Fat Duck"...this Fat Duck is a gastro pub serving quintessential British pub fare in Guelph, Ontario.

We walked into a Premiership soccer game blaring on the big screen television and the sounds of yelling observers. This really could have been anywhere in jolly old England! We were seated right away at a booth away from the happening bar area and ensuing soccer game.

After studying their drink menu, I decided that I wanted to start with their namesake beer..."the Duck Lager". Our waitress had informed me that his was a hoppy brew with citrus notes and I gave decided to give it a go.

This was a good beer. I wouldn't say it was my favourite beer ever...I prefer a more refreshing brew like Mill Street Organic but it was good never the less.

Edgar and I decided to share an appetizer, the Black Bean Dip. It was served with grilled naan, chopped veggies, crumbled feta and jalapeƱos.

This was really tasty. The black bean dip itself was very flavourful. It was topped with a tomato relish, jalapeƱos and crumpled feta which added an extra boost of flavour and heat. I really enjoyed this appetizer.

For my main, I decided on the "Curried Chicken Pie" served with sweet potato wedges.

This was so delightful. I know that the Brits have a love for anything Indian and this dish just proved it! The chicken pie itself was packed with chicken and veggies in a nicely flavoured curry. It was topped with a lovely yellow curry reminiscent of a true British pub curry. 

I was way too stuffed for dessert so I didn't even check it out. Overall, this was a great lunch. The Fat Duck is a nice new addition to our restaurant roster.

In his opinion:
Let me start by saying that I'm not a huge fan of British pubs. This is not because I'm not a huge fan of Football(Soccer), or beer or hanging out with my mates but mostly because in many of them the food just seems sub-par or very bland. Thankfully there are good exceptions to the rule and those are usually found when the chefs get creative, stir away from an all British food menu and also when they incorporate England's best food import, Indian cuisine.

The Fat Duck is a relatively large gastro pub with a few different sections, the bar, the dining room (which part of it serves also as a private party room), the fireplace room, the darts room and when in season, their nicely appointed patio. The menu choices are plenty and showcase a certain flare with lots of choices inspired by international dishes.

I started with an ever so predictable Mill St. Organic beer, I know, I know, I seem obsessed with this beer and usually have it anywhere they serve it. But I find it irresistible especially on a hot day and it goes very well with food. While browsing their menu I couldn't help looking around and noticing the decor, it is well appointed with a a great mix of period furniture with some more modern and industrial accents such as their cool hanging lights.

For an appetizer, we shared the "Black Bean Dip" at the suggestion of our waitress. This consisted of grilled naan, cut veggies, jalapenos and crumbled feta surrounding a generous portion of the black bean dip, which is way to big to be consumed with the small naan that is given and the veggies supplied. At an additional $1.99 we ordered another naan to be able to finish the dip. The dip itself was very well made, with perfect spreadable consistency and plenty favourful even without the jalapenos.

For my main, I ordered their special of the day which was the "Pork Belly Sandwich with lettuce and tomato". I am a huge lover of anything pork and pork belly is no exception but I can't recall the last time I had it in a sandwich. The presentation was very inviting with the sandwich cut in half, displaying the layers of goodness awaiting a bite. The brontosaurus like fries (sweet potato in my case), are both very visually appealing and extremely tasty. The sandwich was great with a plethora of flavours with every bite. The components of the sandwich just collaborate very well as does the BBQ sauce that bonds it all together.

The experience at the Fat Duck felt very similar to a lot of pubs I have visited.  The flow of return visitors, most of them locals and I'm sure regulars, bring this place a sense of community and family. This is definitely illustrated in the amount of people that came to their rescue during a sprinkler incident earlier this year, when many of the patrons donated their skill, time and money to get the place back together in time to re-open for the superbowl. 

The Good: Great food, inviting spaces and good service.
The Bad: Limited draft selection, having to pay $1.99 for an extra piece of naan and no one addressing the continuous loud cursing going on in the bar area while the dining room had elderly and children in it.
The Verdict: With food a cut above the usual British Pub fare, good service and an inviting decor. it's no wonder that this place has been a hit with patrons for seven years. It sits above your regular British Pub experience and the food elevates it to a great place to eat. A must try.

I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 Olives as rating.

Fat Duck Gastro Pub on Urbanspoon

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