Coin Laundry: Delectable Anachronisms
Coin Laundry Restaurant Review: Spend your spare change on a drink and a dish from the 1970s at one of the most entertaining and best restaurants Islington has seen in quite some time.
I would say that the ‘70s are having a moment, except that I wouldn’t, and they’re not.
Or are they? If the existence of this new restaurant in swanky Exmouth Market (the street of food royalty amongst Islington restaurants) is anything to go by, they definitely are.
The 70’s were strange. The Beatles had disbanded, LSD’s promises were beginning to fade, and everything appeared to be a mousse. Despite that, there was a certain charm to that orange-brown patterned era that at times seemed to be nothing more than the dodgy hangover from the ‘60s. Disco was in full swing, cocaine was abundant, there was a healthy dose of misogyny to keep society in place, and if ‘That 70’s Show’ is anything to go by – everyone was very funny. Just as the 70’s were fixated with the 50s, a brief search online today pulls up an array of memes of 70s dishes: most of which are defined by a fixation with pineapple and a form deliberately reminiscent of animals (the pinnacle of this being ‘Pineapple Chicken’ where you cook a chicken in a pineapple and carve it to look like a chicken). With this idea of novelty culinary entertainment, it seems odd that no one has really picked up on 70s cuisine as a restaurant theme before. This fun approach to food, paired with a relaxed tongue-in-cheek environment at Coin Laundry makes it a fun alternative to tapas in terms of entertaining dining value, and is refreshing in its light-hearted contrast to some of the more serious Exmouth Market bars.
With bare brick walls, PoMo artwork, board games scattered around sofas (including Twister, on occasion!), and neon lights, Coin Laundry presents itself as an ideal after-work or weekend hangout to the nostalgic and trendy. Food is an exuberant affair, divided into Breakfast, All Day, and Party menus. Aside from the standard affair of porridge, eggs, etc, their notable ‘70s inclusions consist of banana blintz and corned beef and Bovril bake, aside from that, the onion bhaji and fried egg bap is a welcome deviation from the usual bacon affair. The All Day menu revels in its anachronisms: mushroom vol-au-vonts, prawn cocktail, chicken kievs, and Russian salad all form a coherent time capsule in their entirety. However, if you’re having dinner with 4 or more guests, go for the Party menu and choose whether you pick at a tray of nibbles over beer or go for a full-on feast. The main benefits of this is the addition of a glorious beef Wellington.
Desserts are deeply comforting and colourful. The angel cake is light and fluffy, the Yorkshire profiteroles are heavy and dumpy in exactly the right way, the black forest trifle is both creamy and tangy, but the cherry on top is the banana boat for 2: a triumphal procession of ice cream, chocolate sauce, nuts, and whipped everything.
The drinks menu is a well-balanced mixture of wines, beers, spirits, and cocktails. Of course, the cocktails stay in keeping with the menu and harken back to the tastes of the decade of flared trousers and long hair. The Pisco Inferno combines Pisco, the eponymous pineapple shrub, lime, egg white and pink pepper, and the classic cocktails I have never actually seen offered ver batem on a cocktail menu finally have a come-back to rapturous applause: welcome the Snowball, Tequila Sunrise, and Grasshopper! Aside from alcoholic drinks, many diners find their gourmet soda stream the most exciting part of the experience (flavours include pear and clove, calamondin lemonade, and pomegranate), and on a hot summer day, I am inclined to agree.
Coin Laundry is located within the hub of restaurants Exmouth Market is clustered out of, befittingly located right on the corner; 70 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QP
Coin Laundry restaurant opening hours: 8am-11pm Weekdays; 8am-2am Weekends