4 MAY - 3 JUNE 2018

Fringe Friends Review: The Walrus

Can you really be bothered to cook a roast dinner? Who has the time to do that? It’s Sunday, you are exhausted and the last thing you want to do is tackle an overtly elaborate Victorian meal. We are the country that created the Aunt Bessie’s frozen roast potato for a reason.

You don’t want to be in the kitchen on a Sunday. You want to be outside, basking in the clear, spring afternoon sunshine, drinking it in before the existential hell of Sunday night kicks in and the clock edges ever closer to Monday morning. Tick! Antiques Roadshow. Tock! Call the Midwife… So why cook your own Sunday roast? Get yourself down The Walrus (10 Ship Street, Brighton) who will do this far better than you ever could.

Looking like a Gentleman’s Club set upon a canard ocean liner, The Walrus carries itself extremely well. It feels like somewhere that has always been there despite being relatively new to the city and as it sprawls dramatically from floor to floor you feel that you are at a much-loved Hotel rather than a pub and restaurant. For example, the floor where we sat had not one but two chandeliers hanging from the ceiling which will make you feel like a right old Gloria Swanson as you nip to the loo. There was sadly no actual walrus to speak of in the building, not even an animatronic one with a luxuriant mustache, monocle and fancy cane that says “well, how do you do?” as you go through the front door. But I am fully aware it is possibly only myself that felt this was lacking.

The staff are lovely, smiling and happily suggesting wines without pressuring you into making a decision and the roast itself? Well, of course it was brilliant, perhaps even epic. Meat cooked to perfection with a Yorkshire pudding so large you could easily bring up a family within its walls. Bowls of beautifully prepared vegetables arrive with your plate and delightfully a little jug of extra gravy. And that’s really all there is to it. I am not suggesting that it was in any way un-spectacular but what else can you possible about a Sunday roast done perfectly, with excellent ingredients by people who genuinely seem happy you are there?

Every pub in Brighton does roast dinners each Sunday, but when was the last time you had a great one? Like a really great one. One that when you get home afterwards you say to each other “that was a great roast dinner” and make plans to go again with your friends when they visit? The Walrus is that place and the next time even the slightest notion of ‘doing a roast’ crosses your mind, forget about it, give them a call and book a table immediately.