Spending a Sunday in a part of London I don’t normally visit, as my university friends held a big pre-Christmas pub lunch at the Easton near Exmouth Market, I realised I was only a 15 minute walk away from the flat of my best friend from school. I live about an hour and a half away (by train/tube, not walking!) so thought it would be a shame if I didn’t get to see her as well, so sent a quick text.
She headed over with her boyfriend who suggested we meet in Exmouth Market; after trying a couple of places which were no longer serving food, we found ourselves in the Coin Laundry. It only opened in mid-2015 and reading some reviews afterwards made me realise we completely missed the basement which has a selection of board games and a regular programme of events.
The wooden tables and chairs reminded me a bit of being at school (which I think might be the idea as Coin Laundry describes itself as having a retro 70s vibe). The menu was possibly artisanal, possibly directional, definitely a bit retro and also a little strange. I’ve never seen a menu offering the following combination: fried artichokes and ricotta; lamb faggots and mint jelly; tomato soup and cheese toasty; ham egg and chips; cauliflower cheese steak; chicken kiev with butter leaf or romanesco cheese; rabbit Balti pie and coriander sauce.
Having had a big meal at lunchtime (albeit several hours earlier) I was at a bit of a loss as to what to order, and thought the cauliflower cheese steak (£10) sounded interesting and fairly light. I assumed it was cauliflower cheese perhaps baked in the oven and served as a ‘steak’, rather than it being steak with cauliflower cheese, but I was wrong on both counts – luckily the waitress explained what it was. It’s essentially a large piece (half?) of cauliflower, roasted, topped with crumbled cheese. It was very unusual and I enjoyed it though I wasn’t keen on eating the very hard stem so left quite a bit.
My friend is vegan and I think ended up having a salad with a side of chips and curry sauce; her boyfriend ordered the special which was half a roast chicken and it was absolutely huge; he didn’t eat all of it as he was keen to have dessert and had the pineapple upside down cake. The 70s vibe definitely came through in the dessert menu with the banana boat and black forest trifle, but I’d never heard of Yorkshire profiteroles before so decided to give them a go. They were, obviously, profiteroles made from Yorkshire pudding batter rather than choux pastry! I know Yorkshires can be served sweet, with jam, but these came with Chantilly cream which was a new one – and to be honest they still tasted a little too much like Yorkshire puddings for my liking!
Still, Coin Laundry is definitely a bit different and if I was in the area with my parents – who remember the 70s – then I might take them here!