The English Launderette
The guys behind Rock Lobsta created a pop-up Launderette-style super club in Shoreditch last week – the English Launderette. If we’d been able to go when it first started, this blog would’ve been written before it ended… However, due to Ade’s ill health, this wasn’t to be.
Anyway, Thomas Keller’s cult three-Michelin starred restaurant The French Laundry was at Harrods at the same time and with prices at £250 per head (and that’s without any booze!), most couldn’t afford such decadence. So with ‘a nod to the past and a wink to the present’ the English Launderette was a cheaper, more interesting and dare we say it, more fun alternative.
The build up to our evening at the English Launderette had got us all on a spin. We were eager to get down there and experience our first supper club. We were slightly disappointed that it wasn’t in an actual launderette, instead a gallery space called Protein. They did a great job decking it out though and the waitresses were dressed from head to toe like Dot Cotton with a‘60s-inspired soundtrack put together by Howard Marks. We spotted a little Rock Lobsta on a projection of spinning washing machines onto the wall.
We sipped our cocktail in the foyer area before being led into the dining room. We got lucky with our table as we had a lovely and amusing couple next to us. We swapped opinions and stories about places we’ve eaten at, countries we’ve visited and places in countries we’ve eaten at… you get the idea. It also turned out that James (our table neighbour) was also expecting actual coin-op washing machines that mix our drinks and told us his plans for his invention of a ‘spin cycle’ cocktail shaker!
The menu is inspired by classic British fare, but with lots of surprises. The treacle bread was gorgeous, quite cake-like so we tried to resist in fear of getting full too soon. Beers were provided by Hackney-based craft brewers Redchurch Brewery where there is no pasteurisation and each beer is fermented by hand. The packaging was handmade also, we loved the Bethnal Pale Ale, not very pale but lovely never the less. It was the second time we saw natural wine on the menu since Meatballs, by East Dulwich based wine purveyor Green & Blue.
The first course was Fruit Juice clear chilled tomato juice, Chase gin, Chase vodka, devilled spices, this was a bit of a Marmite course, we weren’t too keen. Then Cheese ‘n Pineapple – Wallops Wood goats cheese, pineapple weed jelly & syrup, landcress (also known as American cress, so of course bigger than the norm). We were told about each course as they arrived, and, curiously discovered pineapple weed grows between pavements. Real pineapple is hard to make jelly with because of the enzymes apparently. You’re asked for dietary requirements when booking so my dislike of cheese meant I didn’t miss out.
Next was Prawns ‘n Avocado - Butter poached prawns, avocado, smoked garlic butter, sea aster, pickled samphire. The prawns were translucent and raw-looking due to being cooked in a water bath, this made them beautiful and tender. Then it was the star of the show – the Mixed Grill - roe deer & malt scotch egg, pheasant burger, black pudding, crispy crumbed smoked bath chaps, fried duck egg, grilled puffball, pickled apple. The black pudding was Ade’s favourite, it went so well with the course, strong flavoured pheasant burger. I loved the pickled apple and the thrice-cooked chips dipped in the duck egg – pure comfort food.
By this point we were all pretty stuffed and feeling a bit greased-out but next was English rare-bit – mock caviar, Worcester sauce. It had quite a strong mustardy taste, not that it mattered too much as by now we had one eye on the dessert trolley!
Finishing off with the very cool Lily Vanilli’s dessert trolley, have been keen to try her cakes for some time, there was a delicious very cakey Boozy Sherry Trifle, Pineapple Upside Down Cake - mini hazelnut sponges, fresh pineapple, coconut toasted nuts and cherry. Followed by a Bakewell Tart - orange short crust, autumn berries, frangipane, apricot and toasted almonds, which I took home to save for the following day.
Wonder what they’ll do next. We’ve heard a few rumours, let’s hope they’re true. I’m hoping for a school dinners pop-up, but think I’m alone on that one…