Brixton’s old Edwardian laundry building, Walton Lodge, traded for almost 120 years as a family-run business.
It started out washing locals’ clothes back in the 19th century. In its heyday, it pressed sheets for fancy London hotels and The Orient Express. But in 2014, with profits dwindling, it closed its doors for good.
Five years later, they’ve swung back open to reveal The Laundry, brought to you by Melanie Brown, who – having been a chef at The Providores and Tapa Room and a wine expert at The New Zealand Cellar in Pop Brixton – is combining her love of food and drink at a fully fledged resto for the first time.
Set over two floors, upstairs feels very much like a wine bar. Tucked away to the right, you’ll find a small horse-shoe of mint green banquette seating and a couple of tables and chairs, as well as brown leather stools propped up at one of two bars. They’ve kept the original brickwork, distressed with chipped green and brown plaster where they aren’t lined with wine bottles.
Downstairs on the other hand is a much bigger, airier space, doubling as a private dining room. Otherwise – when the weather’s right – they also boast a big, outdoor courtyard – the laundry’s former delivery yard – ideal for large glasses of rosé swilled in early afternoon sun.
The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week long, as well as brunch on weekends. Aussie Head Chef Dylan Cashman has crafted a menu focused on using local, seasonal produce. This translates into the likes of cured seabass with pickled strawberry and sunflower seeds; or beef tartare with fermented chilli, egg yolk, and bonito – not to mention thick-cut, triple-cooked, beef fat potato chips stacked up on the side. All dishes are designed to be shared – although you may not want to when it comes to their chocolate, almond and orange torte, served with clotted cream ice-cream.
And to wash it all down? Well, for starters, there’s a carefully curated, 50-strong list of both old and new world wines. The Laundry aims to give people the the opportunity to discover something new (whilst also keeping a couple of slightly better known options on the menu, in case you’d rather sip on something more comforting). The main event, however, is their private cellar collection: The Cleaner’s Diary. It’s an actual hand-written diary detailing a small selection of extremely fine wines, exclusively available to drink-in. We’re talking mature bottles from some of the world’s top wine estates, and not too expensive either.
You’ll be hard pressed to find much better.
NOTE: The Laundry is open all week for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks – or just a cup of coffee (or bottle of wine) to take away. They don’t take reservations, but for more information you can visit their website HERE.
The Laundry | Walton’s Lodge, 374 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PL
Last Updated: 11th November 2019 | Main image: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
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