What: An all-day bistro and wine shop that’s opened within the historic Walton Lodge Laundry building on Brixton's Coldharbour Lane in London.
Who: The Laundry is the brainchild of New Zealand-born chef and new world wine expert Melanie Brown, who also owns The New Zealand Cellar set-up shop and wine bar at the nearby Pop Brixton. Brown arrived in the UK in 2015, and previously worked as a chef for Peter Gordon at his restaurant The Providores & Tapa Room in Marylebone (her London CV also includes Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and wine-focused restaurant chain Vinoteca). Focusing her efforts predominately on the front of house operation (and the wine selection, of course), Brown has called in the services of Australian chef Dylan Cashman to oversee the kitchen here.
The food: Cashman’s menu creation is anchored in local and seasonal produce, with a focus on classic bistro-style dishes and cooking techniques. Dishes are designed for sharing, with smaller plates including pink fir potatoes baked in salt pastry with garlic and rosemary, herb cream (£5.50); roasted hispi cabbage with Cropwell Bishop Stilton and buttermilk green apple dressing (£7); and smoked fish bacalhau, potato crisps and chives (£12). Larger plates feature line-caught market fish of the day served with roasted bone sauce, garlic and green olives (market price); roasted pork belly with brussel sprouts, house-made yoghurt and pickled chilli (£16); and a half free range Norfolk chicken with parsnip, Jerusalem artichoke and celery (£19). Dessert choices are more limited, but include a warm chocolate chip cookie, baked to order (£4) that’s destined to become one of The Laundry’s signature dishes.
The drink: Given Brown’s specialism, wine is the focus of The Laundry’s drinks offering, with the main list featuring 50 bins, eight of which are available by the glass. The list features Brown’s own collection of wines, named New Press; three wines 'created to represent a true expression of New Zealand terroirs and styles’. An additional and ever-changing selection of wines is listed in The Laundry’s premium private cellar collection, The Cleaner’s Diary. Designed by Brown to ensure fine wines remain accessible to those dining at the restaurant, the list features bottles sourced from some of the largest private wine collections in the UK.
The vibe: The Laundry’s dining space features a mix of banquettes, bar and counter seating alongside two PDRs that seat a total of 25 guests. The cosy, laid back interior design includes antique mirrors, plush emerald greens and vintage furniture sourced by Brown, against original walls and tiled-floor backdrops. The restaurant also has a south-facing ‘Parisian inspired’ terrace.
And another thing: Much has been done to ensure the building stays close to its roots. As well as the original laundry house signage remaining intact, the wine lists have been bound in the style of old dry cleaning ticket books.
374 Coldharbour Ln, Brixton, London SW9 8PL