Rob Hampton and Matt Lovell, the pair behind Covent Garden’s much-loved seafood bar and kitchen, The Oystermen, are set to open Walter’s, a new neighbourhood restaurant and bar in the heart of West Dulwich, set to open in January 2022.
Named after Walter Hathaway, a local master milliner, costumier and first owner of the Park Hall Road address, the bar and restaurant will continue to welcome both locals and visitors throughout the week, from lunch through to dinner, offering a considered menu of British-inspired classics and an impressive selection of wines and cocktails served at its central bar.
Head Chef Khalid Hassan (formerly of Social Eating House, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Murano) has worked closely with Rob and Matt to devise a clever menu of hearty dishes made with expertly-sourced British produce.
Beginning with snacks, such as trout skin with a cod roe dip and truffle arancini, diners can then choose from a selection of starters and small plates including a Bloody Mary crab salad; apricot and harissa glazed lamb belly; and Jerusalem artichoke orzo risotto.
Mains will showcase the best meat, fish and vegetables from the team's treasured suppliers and farmers in dishes such as roasted venison loin and parsnip, and roasted hake with romesco sauce along with spiced cabbage and a slow cooked duck egg. To finish, a short selection of classic favourites such as a cheese course of stilton, beetroot and port or a chocolate delice with brown butter ice cream.
Sundays will be a relaxed affair, with seasonally-changing sharing dishes joining the menu. The opening month will see the likes of ox cheek and mushroom pie and a whole sea bass served table-side.
The beautiful antique bar at the heart of Walter’s provides a focal point for the restaurant, and the wine and cocktail lists are no different. Reflecting Matt and Rob’s dedication to accessible, considered wines, the pair have created a list with a focus on high-quality, artisan, and classic bottles from regions both well and lesser known.
There will be a real focus on sparkling wines, high quality grower champagnes, the best of the new wave of English producers and some gems from areas across the globe, with a large and comprehensive by- the-glass offering.
The grand bar will be fully stocked with a focus on the finest whiskies from around the world which will star in a diverse cocktail list, celebrating - but not limited to - the classics, with several given a Walter’s twist.
Seating 50, Walter’s brings a juxtaposition of the old and the new to the historic site. Split into two distinct spaces: a front dining room, and a lounge area to the rear. The light-filled dining room has a traditional feel with original wooden floorboards and exposed brick, boasting an arresting, well-stocked central bar.
It will be accessed from the street through traditional concertina doors, with family tables by the window that will provide a spot to while away an afternoon with loved ones, and high stools that will allow for a livelier affair around the bar. The beautifully designed space will provide the perfect setting for long lunches, family get-togethers, and comforting Sunday lunches.
Passing the open kitchen, and moving towards the back of the restaurant, guests can explore the low lit, cosier space with lounge-style seating and tables. Parquet floors, drop-pendant lights hung from high ceilings and low seating will provide a relaxed, elegant space for Dulwich locals to enjoy the extensive wine and cocktail menu into the later hours.
Leading down from the dining room, guests can descend to the restaurant’s wine cellar filled with wines personally chosen by Hampton and Lovell. Every bottle in the collection, which will span wall-to-wall, will be for sale. The room will also be used for approachable wine tastings led by the founders, held around a striking long farmhouse dining table. For those looking to host a special event, the wine cellar will be available for private dinners and get-togethers.
Hampton and Lovell said, “We have had such a journey since opening The Oystermen, our first bricks and mortar site just over four years ago. Walter’s feels like a very natural next step for us, we are moving down south, to a neighbourhood we know and love. We can’t wait to create a spot for people to relax and enjoy great food at any time of day.”