The Fat Walrus pub in New Cross has been a hit with locals since it opened in 2016 but with the arrival of Whole Beast in the kitchen, it’s set to win over the rest of the city. Sam and Alicja Bryant, who opened Coal Rooms in Peckham before combining their love for live fire cooking and nose-to-tail dining with Whole Beast, had been popping up across South London for a few years, including at The Fat Walrus. Now they’re taking pub grub to a new level after finding a permanent home inside the New Cross boozer.
And when we say a new level, we mean it – the comfort food menu reads well and tastes even better, thanks to real attention to detail in the kitchen. Not only do the pair make sure every element of the animal is used (the same ethos is also applied to veg and fresh produce) but everything is made in-house. The green chorizo used for tacos is homemade, with the pork fat made into crackling for the topping. The ham inside the ham, mushroom, smoked garlic and mozzarella crispy pancake is cured by them, and both the pickles and hot sauce accompaniments are homemade – Findus could never.
The potato bread that’s used for burger buns and loaves is baked in-house, and boy does it make a difference. The buns are soft and spongy, the perfect vehicle for a very good dry-aged cheeseburger topped with burger sauce and more of those excellent pickles. The loaf version, sliced super thick, is fried in chicken fat, slathered in ranch slaw and comeback sauce and topped with a ruggedly crispy and properly spiced piece of Nashville hot fried chicken. And shout out to the potatoes in a rich, nutty massaman curry sauce and sprinkled with crispy onions – a mini potato curry is very much the sort of side dish we can get on board with.
It’s not easy to make dishes we’ve eaten hundreds of times feel special but that’s what Whole Beast is doing. They’ve got a Sunday roast on that we’re already planning on going back for and we can’t wait to see what they can do with an alfresco BBQ. That and some of the pub’s frozen cocktails out on the terrace might just be the best way to spend the summer in South London.
44 Lewisham Way, New Cross, SE14 6NP