With Laundrette in Chorlton now an established haunt amongst the young and trendy, it was high time we cleaned up our act and paid its younger, city-centre sibling a visit.
Don’t be fooled, The Laundrette looks nothing like what it says on the box. In fact, with the sticky grub, theatrical cocktails and lively atmosphere here, you’re likelier to leave with dirtier clothes. An outdoor-seated area accommodates for all weather with a retractable ceiling: a smart feature given Manchester’s rainy reputation. Inside is more spacious than we initially thought with long wooden tables made for mingling, casual booth style benches by the window and high-top tables for quality time with the other half. The casual furniture is punctuated with neon lit signs and metallic cone lights hanging above, adding some retro sex appeal to the laid-back style. Laundrette is cleverly situated; after HOME’s arrival, it is a cultural hotspot, filled with food-and-drink seekers post work, film or art exhibition. There’s loads to do here.
We went for dinner on a quiet midweek evening and were sat next to a buzzing table of 30-something professionals letting their hair down over a few suds. The music was loud, throwing modern electronic beats with familiar retro refrains, helping us to quickly overcome our hangry arrival. We imagine that this is a bar for the people, with the atmosphere responding to what’s necessary.
The Food and Drink
The menu plays on the laundry theme, with ‘small loads’ for starters or tapas style dining, ‘full loads’ for mains and ‘extra spins’ if you fancy a mixed salad or truffle & parmesan fries alongside. You even get a ‘pre-wash’ option to nibble on some olives, or you can rinse the impressive selection of burgers or pizzas. My Spiced Beef Carpaccio (£9.50) starter with sweet potato crisp, pomegranate and watercress was elegant, whereas the deeply flavoursome BBQ Chicken Wings (£6) were proclaimed “the stickiest” by my companion as he licked his fingers and eyeballed the next piece. The menu caters for different tastes; he kept it real with the Spicy Breaded Chicken Burger (£12), which had a pleasingly crisp outer coating, whereas I went for the show-stopping tender Lamb Rump (£17.50) with chorizo, spinach and fondant potato.
To drink, we started with a bottle of the Box of Budgies New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (£25); ‘Zealanders do it best and this really was a fresh and satisfying white. However, Laundrette is known for its stellar cocktails… and for good reason. After a recommendation from our friendly server, we tried the Rockafeller sharer cocktail (£45) which absolutely DAZ-zled us. This was so much more than a cocktail; served in a golden ‘Laundrette’-branded bath tub, this concoction contained Portobello Road Gin, Chambord and Peach Bitters, topped with Prosecco. The rest of the bottle is served alongside it meaning you can top up your drinkable bubble bath with a fizz. Safe to say, it wasn’t our washing machines that were spinning the following morning.
We knew it: Laundrettes always were the best places to meet people and hang out. The Laundrette on First Street takes this concept to where it belonged all along. Give it a spin.