Please note that due to Copyright Trolls, all images have been removed until I can manually review them, one by one, and ensure credit is appropriately displayed. So if the story suddenly makes no sense, then...well...soz.
This is a long process, so please bear with me...it will likely take until the end of 2024 until all images are reviewed and displayed correctly. Sigh.
After a scary few days spent being reminded that Matt Hancock was once in charge of something, alongside communicating with both estate agents and recruitment consultants, it was time to consult a real beast – Whole Beast, currently at The Fat Walrus in New Cross.
Wanna play a game of Whole Beast Or Half Beast?
Yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t use that picture of him swimming again, but I lied.
Speaking of lying, fancy another game of Whole Beast Or Half Beast?
I’m not normally a fan of reviewing pop-up restaurants on this blog. I know if I review Blacklock, it will be here next decade, let alone next month. If I review a Young’s pub, I know they’ll still be serving watery gravy next year, let alone next month.
But I have no idea how long Whole Beast will be at The Oversized According To Societal Stereotypes Walrus Pub – it could be gone next week, it could be gone next month, it might still be there in several years time.
There is, however, little reason for me not to be intrigued by a pop-up with the word “beast” in its title, especially given that I had possibly the best steak ever at a restaurant called Beast, to celebrate the end of lockdown.
Did someone say lockdown? Is that, or is that not a segue to another game of Whole Beast Or Half Beast?
Why on earth did Matt Hancock give his whole WhatsApp history to a political shyster with a history of leaks, and one that opposed his flagship policy? It’s like me asking an Animal Rebellion activist to write an obituary for Lord Gravy.
I almost felt sorry for him, but then I was like, Matt Hancock. It’s a while since I’ve had leeks on a roast dinner actually. Hang on…is that the fault of Spain having winter weather in winter again, like never happened prior to Brexit?
And that is one “I’m going to kill you” smile, isn’t it? And I’m not talking about the walrus. I’m sure she means well. Yep.
Anyway, Whole Beast. The actual Whole Beast. I’m not entirely sure where they have come from – a scroll through Instagrim leads me only to their current pop-up, at least as an established and regular outfit. Their first post was from Meatopia in 2021.
I can tell you that there are two people behind it – and they claim to be a nose to tail concept – they also have pig’s heads on display on their ‘Grim, and I have a friend who claims to have left a pig’s head in the toilets at McDonalds once.
The Fat Walrus has apparently been voted the best pub in New Cross since 2016. Which is kind of like Lord Gravy being the best weekly Sunday roast blogger in London. I’d never even been to New Cross before today.
And I know that I said that I’m not normally a fan of reviewing pop-up restaurants on this blog, but I’ve just realised that this is the third one I’ve reviewed this year and it is only March. Erm…another game of Whole Beast Or Half Beast?
Some of the seating inside The Fat Walrus looks a tad tired but otherwise it is a pleasant enough pub – the usual exposed brickwork and wood-panelling, managing the inoffensive WeWork kind of look. I didn’t check out the beers as I’m still on detox (and fucking bored of it now) but I’d guess they do something decent.
They also seem to have plenty of outdoor seating both front and back, but I didn’t pay much attention to that either as it is still winter, and yes, I’m fucking bored of it now. By the time I finish writing this, I might have booked some flights somewhere possibly warm but also possibly it will just rain whilst I’m there just to annoy me.
The pub smelled gorgeous, by the way – and the menu offered pork shoulder and collar for £20.00, ox cheek and rump cap for £20.00 or a whole chicken as a sharing platter for £36.00. I was minded for the beef, but my accomplice was minded for the chicken sharing platter – and once the chef explained how they made the gravy, I was sold.
And we were in agreement of ordering the smoked cauliflower cheese, of which I almost certainly still taste like.
Fancy a game of Whole Beast Or Whole Beast?
Yeah, it was one of those that you had to plate up yourself – at least the chicken sharer was, and I had to wait for my accomplice to take more careful and considered photographs than myself – much to the amusement of the table next to us.
I couldn’t even steal a carrot. Speaking of which, they were very softly roasted – how I’d do them. If you look closely enough, the insides have wholes in, which suggested to me that the carrots were probably past their best – yet they were really flavoursome.
The chunk of Hispi cabbage, the very same vegetable which took 3rd, 2nd and 1st place in the awards for “best vegetable” in 2022, was not miles away from being of the same excellence. A certain smokiness with a contrast between the crunchy stalk and almost gooey leaves, made it a rewarding eat. But there was better to come.
The cauliflower cheese, which we paid extra for, allegedly had 6 types of cheese in – and that is an allegedly that I believe, along with cheese and onion crisps on top. I love the inventiveness – let alone that the cauliflower was brined overnight, rubbed in their BBQ rub and smoked. They love their smoking. I loved their cauliflower cheese.
If you were going to be picky, and I am, then maybe the smokiness overshadowed everything else on the plate. Then again, there wasn’t enough gravy, so the cheese sauce – the divine cheese sauce, came in very useful.
Three fairly large roast potatoes were supplied – and they were on their way to excellence with reasonably crispy sides. Alas, they were a bit undercooked inside – having that slight firmness that a lack of chuffing or a lack of time in the oven might provide (assuming, of course, that they were roasted and not deep fried). Better than the London average by a fair way though.
The Yorkshire pudding was respectable – large as per Instagrim’s requirements, a little dry and crispy on top (nothing sufficient gravy wouldn’t fix…alas there wasn’t sufficient gravy), and squidgy to base once a combination of gravy and cheese sauce had softened it.
So much for my anonymity – you can now tell that I wear blue jeans. Oh well, moving onto the chicken.
There was a lot more bone than you might expect from a chicken – one suspects that maybe the sourcing of the chicken wasn’t from the highest quality.
On the flip side, they had once more brined and smoked the chicken whole, along with adding what I guess is their BBQ rub – and though the chicken was thinner than you might expect (at least in leg area), the flavour was pretty wow.
And there was a whole chicken to share between two – so make of that what you will.
Finally, the gravy. White gravy. I know what you are thinking, but this is my blog, and white gravy should be respected as much as brown gravy. And the gravy was banging. Clearly made from the chicken juices, with a heavy smoky flavour – and…and…THICK. Proper thick gravy. Easily the best gravy I’ve been served since Blacklock.
Whole Beast @ The Fat Walrus
I know what you are thinking. We need another game of Whole Beast Or Half Beast:
And I still know what you are thinking. It doesn’t look like the highest scoring roast dinner of 2023 so far from the photographs. It looks more 6’s than 8’s. It wasn’t without fault – but you also cannot see FLAVOUR from a photograph.
Yes, FLAVOUR hits you in the face at Whole Beast, particularly in the mouth.
Sure, the roast potatoes need a little work (though are enjoyable), the carrots seemed like old carrots (though were very nicely roasted) and the chicken seemed on the leaner, cheaper side (but was really, bloody flavoursome).
If you like your roast dinner bland, Whole Beast is not for you. If you like your roast dinner to be more suited for Instagram than your belly, Whole Beast is not for you – though this is also much because I had to plate it up, of course – I can make a website look pretty, not a plate.
So my score of 8.22 might be higher than you expect. But the gravy was wow, the chicken and hispi both full of smoky flavour, and the roast potatoes were actually crispy on the outside – even if on the solid side inside. And that cauliflower cheese – I won’t have many better.
And if you don’t trust me after 242 roast dinner reviews, then your loss. Get it booked – and you will need to book it, our table alone had 3 consecutive bookings that Sunday – Whole Beast seem to be smashing it. Oh and my accomplice scored it an 8.50. And he knows his food. And is actually half-decent at photographing it.
I’ll be back next week. Mother’s birthday. I’m going somewhere that should be good – but also somewhere that doesn’t need to be good, due to the tourist location.
I prefer estate agents, by the way. By a long way.
Whole Beast @ The Fat Walrus, New Cross
Station: New Cross
Tube Lines: National Rail, Overground
Fare Zone: Zone 2
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Tons of flavour. Smokey chicken, smokey hispi, wow gravy from the chicken juices that was actually thick - and sensational cauliflower cheese.
Loathed: Roast potatoes needed a bit of chuffing, but were crispy on the outside. Carrots and chicken possibly on the cheap side - chicken was notably thin in quantity (though still a whole chicken to share!).