The Laundry, London SW9: restaurant review
Try cured seabass with pickled strawberries, blushing aged lamb and silky old fashioneds at this new Brixton bistro
Looking for Brixton restaurants? Read our review of The Laundry, or check out our guide to places to eat and drink in Brixton here.
The Laundry in a nutshell
Elegant all-day bistro and wine shop on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton serving British sharing plates with Antipodean accents.
Founder Melanie Brown worked as a chef with Peter Gordon at The Providores & Tapa Room before setting up wine bar and online shops The New Zealand Cellar and The Australian Cellar. Up-and-coming Aussie Dylan Cashman (Seans Panorama, Pilu at Freshwater) is head chef.
What's the vibe?
Housed in an imposing Edwardian building, in what used to be a commercial laundry, interiors come trendily spare and stripped back, with high ceilings, wooden floors, exposed-brick walls, pendant lighting, duck-egg-green banquette seating and bistro-style chairs and stools. The buzzy ground floor is dominated by a bar (with counter seating) adorned with wine bottles, glassware and a chalk-board menu, while downstairs is home to two private dining rooms.
What's the food like at The Laundry?
The menu eschews the traditional starters/mains/desserts and instead comes divided into snacks (think sourdough with caramelised onion butter and oysters with home-made chorizo and lardo), vegetable, fish, meat and sweet plates. Dishes look pared back but do complex, clever things with flavour pairings.
Hit of the night is ruby-red Hereford beef tartare with thwackingly meaty aromas, jewelled with a deep-golden egg yolk and dressed with prawn oil and bonito flakes that add subtle layers of umami. It came with crisply bronzed, triple-cooked beef-fat chips perfect for dredging through the silky yolk. Carnivores, this is one for you.
Deceptive simplicity is king here. Aged Cotswold lamb, blushing pink, comes accompanied only by softly cooked, rainbow-hued winter tomatoes. Delicate, subtly saline cured seabass is perked up with morsels of sweet-sharp pickled strawberry and anise tarragon, with texture from sunflower seeds. A little salad of sweet peas comes studded with salty hunks of chorizo and crumbs of ricotta.
Desserts are straightforward and feature the likes of lemon tart, chocolate tort and panna cotta, but it’s worth waiting a few minutes for the kitchen’s warm chocolate-chip cookie, baked to order. With fudgy insides and melting chocolate, it’s a classic done perfectly.
And the drinks?
The cocktail and wine offerings are both ripe for exploration. Try the silky, creamy old fashioned with butter-washed whisky, and a delicate take on a French 75. The wine list – a mixture of old and new-world vintages – has plenty by the glass (we tried a perfumed Piedmont nebbiolo and a fresh, vibrant Swartland chenin blanc) and is also available by the bottle to buy and take home. Wine nerds should ask about the restaurant's The Cleaner's Diary – a curated selection of special vintages.
olive tip: The Laundry also does a breakfast service, offering dishes such as hazelnut and coconut milk pancakes with roasted pumpkin ice cream, and chorizo, béchamel and fried egg sandwiches.
Words by Hannah Guinness
Photographs by Nic Crilly-Hargrave and Jack Lewis Williams