Step into The Fat Radish, a new restaurant in New York's Chinatown, and you may feel as if you've left Manhattan firmly outside the door.
British accents envelop you the moment you enter the sliver of a bar area; the menu is packed with a tantalizing looking blue cheese pork pie and the burger comes with "chips" not fries — thank you very much.
Chef Ben Towill (of the Australian Kingswood in the West Village) describes his new endeavor as "modern British" and its studied shabby chic decor certainly telegraphs as much. The walls are exposed brick, coated with a thin veneer of white, a motley collection of stiff backless stools or benches are your chairs of the evening, homey pots of rosemary and thyme line a divider in this former Chinese sausage factory — which bears the Chinese graffiti marking it as such. (Although, it's unclear as to why workers in a sausage factory would have needed the Chinese characters branded on a wall to remind them of where they were.)
Even the name conjures up thoughts of a certain U.K. restaurant that continues to captivate: Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck.
It's lovely to see so much thought and care go into weaving the story, the ambience of a new restaurant. Now, if only this much attention had been paid to the food…