Rupert Hohwieler 27/03/23
The Fat Walrus | Live fire cooking and nose to tail dining in a South London boozer…
The Fat Walrus is in good shape these days.
We’re talking about the pub in Lewisham of course, not the mammal with a bushy moustache…
The South London boozer, five minutes from New Cross station and a popular haunt with Goldsmiths students since it’s right next to the uni, has bagged itself a coup in the kitchen by way of Whole Beast – a live-fire-cooking concept intertwined with nose-to-tail dining started by Sam and Alicja Bryant, the founders of Coal Rooms in Peckham. The husband-and-wife duo have been grilling their way around London’s pop-up scene for a few years now, testing the waters while filling bellies, and after doing a series of those pop-ups at The Fat Walrus, they’ve chosen the pub as their permanent base
Armed with all the necessary equipment and the ideal environment – big smokers and big spaces, including a beer garden out the back, which no doubt will be heaving come barbecue season – the Bryants are, unsurprisingly, seeing to a very comforting, very nap-inducing menu where they’re enhancing flavour to its highest degree through flame, smoke, embers and ash, while trying to make as much in house as possible like the sausages, the bread, the hot sauces and more.
Image: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
Slide into a leather booth inside, under the low lights, or park up on a bench outside (provided the weather’s playing ball) and you can sink your teeth into the likes of homemade hash browns with a cod roe dip; St. John sourdough accompanied by smalec (pork lard) made with pieces of crackling; and a deep-fried pancake inspired by the classic from Findus, using pierogi dough and sealed with cured Oxford sandy ham, mushrooms and mozzarella. Then there’s arguably Whole Beast’s signature dish of Nashville chicken crowned atop a potato loaf (which has been fried in chicken fat) and layered with comeback sauce and ranch slaw; and a prime example of their nose-to-tail philosophy in motion, a plate of smoked ox cheek and bone marrow encircled by aged beef fat hummus, with potato flatbreads on the side to mop it all up (and there is a lot of mopping to be done). If it’s a two person party, the wisest course of action would definitely be to order a course each and just halve everything…
For those after a simple cheeseburger that doesn’t have any fancy embellishments and just nails the basics, there’s one of those too (using dry-aged beef, American cheese and soft potato buns), plus some pretty ridiculous-sounding Sunday roast options that include a whole smoked chicken with sourdough sauce and smoked mutton shoulder. Vegetarians? Don’t stress, although it might sound like it, you’re not left out in the cold… there’s a coal roast plate on Sunday (with ironbark pumpkin, burnt leeks, celeriac and burnt hispi), sides that can easily work as mains, pumpkin mole and mushroom birria tacos.
A wide range…
NOTE: Whole Beast are at The Fat Walrus from Weds-Fri 4-9.30pm, Sat 12-9.30pm, and Sun 12-6pm. You can book a table on their website, here.
Fat Walrus | 44 Lewisham Way, London SE14 6NP
It’s getting closer to that time of year again… Check out London’s best beer gardens
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44 Lewisham Way, New Cross, SE14 6NP
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