Trainspotting a trend: British gastropub franchise in Austin? A culinary double-take at Haddington’s

Above: The kitchen at the newly opened British gastropub Haddington’s in Austin still needs to work out the Kinks, Beatles, and Stones, but we really dug their more than reasonably priced sparkling wine list, including this Crémant du Jura by Montbourgeau (delicious) and a Gaston Chiquet Champagne Special Club (that will surely lure me back when in the mood/occasion for celebrating).

One of my magazine editors (for a food and wine pub I contribute to) likes to remind me that it “takes three examples” to constitute a bona fide trend. Between the Spotted Pig (technically and self-consciously “British and Italian”) in NYC, Jaynes Gastropub in San Diego (familiar to regular visitors here), and now Haddington’s in Austin, I think it’s safe to say that the second (third?) British wave has begun.

I did a culinary double-take when Tracie P and I arrived chez Haddington last night, not knowing — frankly — what to expect aside from the fact that the place is brand-spanking new and that Tracie P and I needed a great glass of wine after a Friday that was too long for both of us.

Tiled floor? Check. French windows? Check. Open kitchen (replete with stressed-out chefs)? Check. Monty Python-worthy relics and paraphernalia of the fallen British empire? Check. Hipster play list with emphasis on retro? Check. Gourmet-aspirant pub (read comfort) food? Checkmate (I had the Bibb Salad with blue cheese and pickled watermelon rind and the “Blue Burger”; Tracie P had a turkey and stuffing sandwich with cranberry relish).

Haddington’s was packed to the gills last night and although I think the kitchen is still working out some of the kinks that any new (and immediately popular) restaurant has to unravel, the impressive sparkling wine list will certainly bring us back. A stiff glass of Gérard Mugneret 08 Bourgogne Rouge was also nice with my main course.

2010 saw so many new restaurants open in Austin (which, according to most reports and eyeball witnesses continues to lead the country in its growth as a tourism destination) and the Austin food blogger community is thrilled (clearly) by this new edition (pun intended for Sam). I’m sure we’ll revisit Haddington’s but there’s only room for one British gastropub in our hearts… and her name is Jaynes…