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Review: The Walpole, New Cross
Falling out with people at work with can create an unbearable atmosphere in the office, but not many employees would actually leave because of a tiff.
It must have been quite the showdown between the chef and landlord at The Walpole in that case, which resulted in me (and several other peckish punters) going hungry this week.
It had started raining just as I left New Cross station so I ran into the first pub I saw which would definitely serve food.
Massive, jazzy banners and sandwich boards outside this boozer advertise its tasty new menu, made fresh every day.
So it’s fair to say I was more than a little confused when I bounded in to order and couldn’t see a menu for looking.
“You do food, don’t you?” I asked the hefty landlord.
“No, not really at the moment,” he replied.
Realising I wasn’t going to storm straight back out, he shifted out of his absolutely battered, second hand barber’s chair – where he clearly likes to chill all day – and served me a Diet Coke and packet of crisps (£2.50 all together).
Maybe this place gets rammed late at night for the karaoke, but at lunch time it’s rather dead save for a couple of regulars who have pledged allegiance to The Walpole.
From his peculiar seat, the landlord told one of his flock all about the sorry affair with his chef.
He said: “We had a falling out and he’s gone.
“I hope it’s not permanent.”
Apparently the pub used to be inundated with hungry folk wanting dinner, but lately the demand has “dribbled right down” - probably because the chef has skedaddled.
But even if she has to starve, this wonderful regular ain’t abandoning her local.
She let him know: “You won’t get rid of me just yet.”
I picked one of the devastated leather couches to sink into and took in the utterly bizarre deco.
One whole wall is covered with a beautiful tiled mosaic in greens and pinks with flowers and patters – reminiscent of a Roman baths.
Rather out of place, it clashes with a mirror ball, bright red vintage lights, decrepit white ceiling and cheap English flags stuck in the lights.
Madness quietly sang “so begins another weary day” over the sound system – pretty much summing up daytime in The Walpole.
But for all I know it’s a riot at night.
Open mic nights and karaoke fun are advertised outside, but I’d call ahead just in case the DJ has played a bum note with the managers.
At least there’s plenty to drink even if you can’t get a decent meal. The regular suspects are available on tap including Fosters and Guinness.
But you can also choose from several different bottled ciders, lagers and ales, like Badger Tanglefoot.
I hate ale but I might just try it for the name one day.
You can also get feathered up with an Old Speckled Hen.
But which is better, Badger or Hen?
There’s only one way to find out...
Address: 407 New X Road, New Cross, London SE14 6LA
Decor: ** (battered but saved by Roman style mosaic)
Drink: *** (good choice of lager and ale)
Price: *** (average)
Atmosphere: *** (dead but friendly)
Staff: **** (lovely guy, very welcoming)