I’ve been eyeing up The Laundry on Coldharbour Lane for what seems like forever. With friends living in nearby Camberwell, I’d always walk past and admire this Brixton institution’s pretty, wild flower-adorned terrace and vibey crowd. Everyone looked like they were having the best time sipping the day away. So when the opportunity came around to visit, naturally I snapped it up.
Spoiler alert: This Brixton haunt does take its name from its former life as an Edwardian domestic laundry, serving high-class clients like the Orient Express, The Ritz and Grosvenor House for over 100 years, before eventually shutting in 2014. It’s been respectfully restored, keeping its industrial charm with exposed brickwork and antique mirrors. Outside boasts Parisian-style rattan chairs that are perfectly placed next to marble tables, an ideal set up for two.
We kicked things off with a jug of sangria (£25). But this ain’t no ordinary pitcher. Self-proclaimed as ‘laced with attitude’ and made with rosé rather than red wine, it features a generous helping of fruit and is the perfect summery sip in the sunshine. Although we quaffed the Spanish classic (make sure to give it a good stir first), you should try out one of their 50-strong wine offering, serving everything from a refreshing white to a full-bodied red. The Laundry is a sister venue to the New Zealand Wine Cellar in Pop Brixton, so you know you’re in fine company.
With Kiwi-born Melanie Brown at the helm and Aussie chef Sami Harvey completing the Antipodean dream team, we expected great things from the food. Promising a best of British menu alongside reimagined classics, I started with the summer panzanella salad (£10), a cool taste of Tuscany. The kaleidoscope of colours coming from the different varieties of tomato makes it one of the prettiest plates I have ever seen. Fusing Mediterranean fruity flavours with rustic bread, each bite was a sheer delight. The grilled nectarine was a nice touch too. My partner chose the soft shell crab with house slaw and lemon aioli (£13), his first-ever dip into the world of crustaceans, and put it this way, he won’t be looking back.
Next came the mains. I decided to go for the caramelised summer squash with sautéed girolles and Cornish yarg (£16). Kudos to the friendly waiting staff, who spared my blushes by explaining exactly what yarg was and how it was made (cheese wrapped in nettles for those of you still guessing). I enjoyed every bite of the creamy, crunchy squash, while the yarg elevated the dish. We also tried the Bavette steak, complete with cafe-de-Paris butter and fries (£17). The waiter explained with passion that it was best-served medium rare and it honestly was cooked to perfection.
The DesignMyNight Digest
No airing of dirty washing round here. The Laundry has only been on the scene for a few years but it’s already establishing itself as a Brixton landmark. The rustic interiors pay homage to wine cellars from times gone by, and the south-facing terrace wouldn’t look out of place in Paris. The food is fresh and unfussy and paired with their extensive lists of wines, so we’re sure to be returning (especially for the yarg) very soon.
💰 The damage: £81 for two people, plus service charge.
📍 The location: The Laundry at Walton Lodge, 374 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8PL.
👌 Perfect for: A swish date night, or a long-awaited catch up with a friend.
⭐ Need to know: The terrace is a gorgeous sun trap and perfect for watching the world go by. It's next to Brixton Market so the atmosphere is really buzzing.
Discover more around South London with our list of Brixton's best restaurants.