REVIEW | Walrus (& Tusk) Bar, Northern Quarter

Walrus was one of the first bars in the revamped Northern Quarter and, following a £500k revamp late last year, certainly stands out from its counterparts. Walrus sits at the very edge of this quirky neighbourhood and, as with so much of this city, it’s not what you would expect, says Sam Belkacemi.

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Walrus opened its doors again in October with brand spanking new décor that really sets it apart from the crowd. If you’re wondering what the name is all about, have a quick listen to ‘I am the Walrus’ by the Beatles – the inspiration behind the concept and menu design.

“…a cocktail menu to put those vodka cranberries to shame”

No need to worry, though. No yellow matter custard, cornflakes or eggmen served here!

The seating area is minimalistic and décor is inventive, with a Walrus head centrepiece proudly surveying the scene below. It’s the sort of place where you would take that friend who thinks he’s seen and done everything. I guarantee he’s not sipped cocktails under the watchful eye of a walrus. With exposed brick walls and plush leather trimmings, this cocktail bar also has an air of old New York – the perfect ambiance to enjoy an afternoon tipple or two. Or more.

Now to my favourite part of any place – the food. Walrus serves up a wide selection of snazzy snacks and upmarket comfort food.

 

The huge plate of nachos with cheese guacamole, peppers, jalapeños and soured cream (£7.95) was a big hit with our party of four and was probably big enough for six. The Goats Cheese and Caramelised Onion Pizza (£8.25) was recommended and, although slightly sweet for some tastes, it didn’t disappoint.

You can also BYOB (build your own board) and match a whole range of flavours and bites, catering for both the simplest and most eclectic of taste buds. The Deep Fried Jalapeño Poppers (£4.50) stuffed with mozzarella and served with a tomato chutney dip were a pot of pleasure and pack quite a punch. Not for the faint hearted.

A personal favourite was the Roast Red Pepper Houmous (£3.00) which had a slight tangy kick and came with home made buttery croutes.  The slow braised Homemade Meatballs (£4.25) were absolutely delicious and bursting with a rich saucy flavour. A pot of BBQ gold.

If burgers are more your thing, there is a temping selection of sliders available at the very reasonable price of 3 for £7.95. The falafel with mint, garlic and yoghurt were perfect mini morsels of flavour and the buttermilk chicken with paprika was packed with plentiful crispy crunch. There are, of course, good old classics on the menu like the Walrus beef burger and apple chutney pulled pork.

REVIEW | Walrus (& Tusk) Bar, Northern Quarter I Love Manchester

Walrus also offers a pretty plush cocktail menu that will put those vodka cranberries to shame. Ice Pop, Northern Lights and Chocolate Orange are just a few of the quirkily named concoctions that this place has to offer and, selected cocktails are available at two for £10 between 5pm and 10pm, which doesn’t hurt your pocket either. If you want to really test your taste buds, try the Black Bison Martini which is a moreish mix of Zubrowska bison grass vodka, summer berries and lime. Plus, from 5pm every day this month, Walrus are also offering 5 cocktails for £5 every day between 5pm and 10pm, but please drink responsibly kids!

REVIEW | Walrus (& Tusk) Bar, Northern Quarter I Love Manchester

You’ll also find a great mix of music every weekend with tunes from resident DJs playing party classics, hip-hop and old school RnB. Plus, if it gets too packed for your taste, you can always pop next door to sister bar Tusk for a slightly more ethnic and chilled-out experience.

Walrus offers a pretty stylish and welcome change from the watering holes that currently serve the immediate area. The food caters to all tastes and the drinks really show off the creativity and skill of our city’s talented bartenders.

So, whether you’re in the market for a boho chic start to your night, or the perfect vibe to end it, this classic but quirky cocktail bar is not to be missed.

78-88 High St, Manchester M4 1ES

walrusmanchester.com

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