Shrewsbury’s celebrated fine dining restaurant, The Walrus, has announced it will be moving from its current premises on Roushill in Shrewsbury to No 2 Lower Claremont Bank, Victoria Quay from 2nd November as its reputation and popularity soars.
The Walrus’ chef owners, business and life partners Ben Hall and Carla Ernst are both thrilled to be taking this confident and exciting step forward for their business, leasing the property from Morris & Company.
Ben commented: “With four years under our belts here in Shrewsbury and a fantastic, loyal and growing clientele, demand is now outstripping availability in the current Walrus, so when this site came up, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to take our now established signature style of cooking into this stunning new space.”
The 243 sq metre new home for The Walrus provides a spacious new location and setting for the business which has established itself as one of the finest, relaxed dining experiences in the West Midlands. It features a rich green and black marble lounge and bar area with a dramatic 22sqm ‘green’ wall. The bar will offer cocktails and light bites for guests independently of the restaurant for the first time. The space leads into the light and airy new dining area with its views over the River Severn. The kitchen remains in view of diners, allowing guests to continue to watch the maestros at work!
“We are deeply proud of being the only restaurant in the area featured in the Michelin Guide for the past three years and determined to continue to innovate and develop dishes that bring people back again and again. We see this as a new platform to take what we have achieved so far on to new heights” Ben added.
The expansion into the new premises will see The Walrus taking on two new chefs, including a pastry and bakery chef, an experienced Mixologist and bar team, boosting the close-knit restaurant team to 16.
Carla added: “We really believe we have the best team anyone could wish for and we are all so excited to be moving to Claremont Bank.”
The move allows The Walrus (originally named after Ben’s love of the famous Beatles song and its cover by Oasis!) to increase its covers to 45 in the main restaurant and 25 in the seated bar area – a meaningful increase from its current capability.
The chef duo is especially excited to be moving from the tiny kitchen they have been used to, to their own bespoke kitchen and space, investing in some state-of-the-art new equipment such as a specialist Japanese Konro grill.
Ben trained at Birmingham Catering College before building his career at Michelin-starred Devon restaurants The Elephant and Gidleigh Park – where he met Carla at the latter who was also working at the celebrated hotel.
Ben continued: “We really couldn’t have made this step without the support of Morris& Company. It’s been so energising working with another local family business and we have thoroughly enjoyed fitting it out, giving it additional wow factor” Ben added.
The building, at the bottom of Claremont Bank, was originally transformed by Morris Property from its function as a warehouse for Morris & Company, to prime A3 premises in 2001.
It was Robin Morris who led the vision for this area of the town and who worked with the Council to have it renamed Victoria Quay heralding the new leisure destination. The first conversion along the Quay which Morris Property completed was the Armoury building converting the former Morris Bakery warehouses into a riverside pub in 1996. By 1998 the second two storey restaurant building was complete, currently leased by Riverbank. The Contemporary two storey glazed crescent shaped building at Lower Claremont Bank was next, winning praise from English Heritage. The Walrus will join the successful Hickory’s Smokehouse brand which also enjoys views onto the River Severn.
Morris & Company’s investment has not simply been in bricks and mortar, Robin Morris was a vocal lobbyist for al fresco dining along the riverside which today contributes to the thriving evening economy of the Quay.
Robin Morris added: “We are so delighted to be working with Ben and Carla with their entrepreneurial spirit and fabulous culinary offer – helping them to grow their business and joining the many successful operators here in the West End of Shrewsbury.”