It may come as no surprise that the building housing a restaurant named The Laundry started out as an Edwardian wash house. The history of this Brixton newcomer’s former life has been enhanced rather than hidden in a space which now features bare brick walls and distressed plaster walls, peeling back to unveil layers of pastel shades.
The menu is designed by Sydney-born chef Dylan Cashman, whose sharing-style small plates are seasonally led, feature as much local produce as possible and are served by bend-over-backwards-friendly staff who all fully buy into the restaurant’s ethos.
We started with crisp croquettes that were sweetened with carrots and seasoned with chunks of ham hock. Carbs are rightfully given full-plate status, with Pink Firs wrapped in a salt pastry to be cracked into like a potato-y present. Elsewhere a plate of charred gem lettuce was generously portioned and spiked with the flavours of a Caesar salad. An unctuous Parmesan whey took the place of a traditional dressing while the flavour of anchovies was replaced by light bonito flakes.
The star though was a plate of slow-cooked belly pork that was silkily rich with layers of fat and topped with a satisfying layer of crackling. The richness of the dish was tempered with Brussels sprouts – both whole and singed leaves – house-made yoghurt and addictively sweet and sharp pickled red chillies.
For dessert a warm chocolate chip cookie, baked to order, promised so much. As a biscuit it was fine, but it was a single small round, unadorned and looking a little lonely on the plate. A scoop of ice cream would have made the £4 price tag feel more justified.
In keeping with its wine bar credentials there’s an interesting list of bottles, with a lean towards French vintages. While the menu presents well, we think a few snacks and a bottle at the bar, surrounded by the chatty south London crowd, beats a full sit-down affair here.