The Laundry Brixton
WLC Rank : 101
Glass from : £ (175 ml)
Described as a “Model Wash House”, The Laundry is an all-day bistro and wine shop in an historic building brought to you by the sometimes cheeky founder of the New Zealand Cellar, Melanie Brown.
Underneath a stuck clock is a striking, Edwardian edifice home to a steam press laundry until 2014. Its clearly Parisian-inspired front terrace abuts cosmopolitan dining destination, Brixton market
Brown, who is also the founder of the New Zealand cellar online merchant, previously looked after the all New Zealand wine list at Marylebone’s pioneering fusion restaurant The Providores (RIP), saving both the tables from its Tapa room which now meet duck egg banquettes at The Laundry, as well as key team members some of whom appear spa fresh. The covetable, ornate cutlery was sourced at a Paris flea market meanwhile.
Brown advises, “anyone can come,” to enjoy morning croissants then bistro classics by chef German Alex Kokott, such as a notably crunchy Caesar salad with a similarly crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the NEW PRESS range which Brown created with Marlborough winemaker, Ben Glover. These feature labels printed on a novel Edwardian mangle transformed into a letterpress, with the brand name paying homage to both New Zealand and the Newland Family who previously operated the laundry. “Not coastal, so not brutally aggressive in character,” says Brown. Other dishes include rich roast cod cassoulet with smoked mussels, partnered with sultry, earthy Langhe Nebbiolo (Giovanni Rossi) which Brown likens to “a classy millennial”, and a large, springy cookie with ice cream for sharing with excellent coffee care of Caravan roasters.
Available on request in addition to the core list, but only on-premises, is The Cleaner’s Diary, a soft leather-bound book featuring bottles such as Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc, Giaconda Chardonnay and a double magnum of Ronan by Clinet, supplied by the ebullient broker, Gareth Birchley.
Dishes and bottles arrive alongside a sometimes anxious playlist intended to keep guests on their toes – “we don’t want anyone getting complacent!” says Brown, whose motto is “to under promise and over-deliver.” In rebellion to her Swiss mother, she incidentally sought an infinity tattoo on her wrist when attempting to “find myself” in Nepal. Her “hobby” is restaurants. “I love the way they make you feel, emotionally and physically.” She has however found time to renovate a house, tend to an allotment with her daughter while bringing The Laundry to life.
Keep an eye out for wine events at the premises, including Seresin, the Marlborough estate where Brown got married. They represent the first producer to host an event in one of two airy private rooms on the lower deck of The Laundry.
By Douglas Blyde.