The Walrus is nearing on two months open, yet it still qualifies as one of the newer cafes in Sydney's CBD. It looks it too — the decor is bright but pared-back with neutral tones accented by plants and a distressed brown banquette by the floor-to-ceiling windows. These windows remain closed during the colder months, but in warmer weather, they're opened to let in the breeze.
Burgers have become a cafe menu mainstay in Sydney and The Walrus is no different. A buttermilk fried chicken burger with kimchi and chipotle mayonnaise on a brioche bun ($18) is one of two available. There's no surprise that spicy kimchi and creamy mayonnaise work well together, but the combination is given an edge with a crushed corn chip crust on the chicken. The burger comes with a side of beer battered fries which adhere to my number one chip requirement: they stay crisp throughout the entire meal.
If you don't want fried food for lunch, opt for the free-range chicken and quinoa salad ($19) which is meant to include pistachios, honey-roasted bacon, peas, fennel and parmesan. I can't attest to what the pistachios add to the meal as they didn't turn up on my plate, but little morsels of bacon and a creamy house dressing do a fine job of keeping your salt and mayo cravings in line while eating an otherwise nutritious salad.
As you'll notice from the bags of bean packed on an overhanging shelf, the cafe uses Toby's Estate coffee. For those who don't feel like caffeine (or have perhaps had their fill for the day), there is a selection of just-squeezed juices, smoothies and house sodas that come in milk bottles with a curly straw. Of note is the blueberry and lime soda — it has the tart fizz reminiscent of lemonade but without the artificial sweetness.
The Walrus is the cafe we want near our office — it does reliable coffee, serves food that spans from salads to hearty burgers, and has a team of attentive but non-intrusive staff. Aside from the small issue of the missing nuts, there's not much to complain about. Here's hoping they iron out all the kinks so you can add them to your list of CBD go-tos.
Images: The Walrus.