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The Laundrette Restaurant Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield meets sexy chicks in lingerie in Chorlton

Written by . Published on August 27th 2013.


The Laundrette Restaurant Reviewed
 

I'LL come clean. I'm refusing to make any puns pertaining to any aspect of the laundry business in this review.

The afternoon was rounded off with a non-traditional knickerbocker glory for a fiver. Loved this dearly, rammed as it was with a double Cheshire Farm ice cream, strawberries, and set off with a subtle bit of honeycomb. 

I wash my hands of those cheap tricks. I want to iron them out of writing. So I'm going to have cut my cloth accordingly, otherwise I'll be hung out to dry, take a tumble, get myself in a spin. Be rinsed.

So let me reiterate I'm definitely not going to be making any puns, going to keep my powder dry.

Through the concertina windows

Through the concertina windows

The three week old Laundrette in Chorlton-cum-Hardy sits at the corner of Beech Road and Wilton Street. As its name reveals it was formerly a real Laundrette called The Soap Opera - honestly people will sell their soul for a cheap gag.

The chaps running the latest addition to the suburb's permanently growing food and drink offer are the same as those running Chorlton Green Brasserie down the road.

Their new venue looks perfect on a sunny day and handsome on others. The outdoor terrace is a delight, a big, solid affair that you imagine wouldn't look out of place against a beach-facing, rather than a Beech Road-facing, bar-restaurant in Cornwall or the south of France. There's a couple of issues with the finish but otherwise it's grand.

Inside, The Laundrette is equally pleasing to the eye, a big banquette to one side, a fine bar down one end, and seemingly enough room to swing a cat, or at least a rat. This is unusual with Beech Road venues which on busy evenings are perfect places for frottage freaks to engage in their pleasures. Like rush-hour trams.

The menu is a bit odd though.

There's lots of good stuff with starters, salads and puddings, but there are only three mains if you can call them that, and then loads of pizzas. So is The Laundrette a pizzeria?

Not much in the way of mains

Not much in the way of mains

Well it doesn't feel like one, so I reckon it should drop five of the pizzas and replace them with five real mains because Chorlton doesn't need any more pizza places. Nowhere does aside from blighted UK inner-city suburbs where any investment would be good.

I've been boring people about my holiday in Naples for a couple of weeks now. In guidebooks when they say a particular food is a regional speciality, you often find it used to be a regional speciality but now it's only found in 'tourist' restaurants and heritage centres. In Chamonix a couple of years ago it was hard to find tartiflette for example. But in Naples pizzas really are a way of life and usually light and clever and beautifully cooked. 

I'm not sure what the local speciality of Chorlton is - suggestions anyone? - but the pizzas in Naples have ruined me for British ones so at The Laundrette I opted out.

The full menu

The full menu

Instead I went for several Italian-inspired starters and fries on the side. 

The ribs (£6.50 - main picture at the top of the page) were superb, fibrous and soft as they broke off the bone and enhanced by a fine ginger and lemon marinade, that tasted almost treacly, molasses heavy.

The beef carpaccio (£8) was not quite as good - slice that carpaccio thinner Laundrette - but was still great fodder. A couple of capers wrapped in the flesh, with a goodly moistening of the garlic and parsley oil, helped. As did a squeeze of lemon from the one provided for the calamari (£6). The latter were tightly folded but nothing special with a decent enough chilli mayo.

Pin-sharp carpaccio

Pin-sharp carpaccio

A burrata mozzarella (£7) with voguish 'heritage' tomatoes and the merest hint of pesto rounded my selection of starters/tapas off. The burrata was enjoyable although not quite as moist in the middle as it could have been. Salvis in the Corn Exchange and Cicchetti in House of Fraser (Kendals) both provide better. A side of fries were mistimed and a little charred at the points. 

Sunny weather food

Sunny weather food

There's an impressive list of ten reds and whites on the drinks list plus lots of bubblies. I had beer including a cracking bottled Titanic ale from Staffordshire for a steepish £4.50 called Nine Tenths Below. It knocked spots off one of the blandest beers I ever had for ages, a Mexican Modelo (£4) complete with a lime in the neck, yawn. The lime came in handy for adding to the food though.

See we do have a local and British speciality as good as pizzas - ale.

A massive bottle of Modelo and two small bookend women

A massive bottle of Modelo and two small bookend women

The afternoon was rounded off with a non-traditional knickerbocker glory for a fiver. I loved this dearly, rammed as it was with a double Cheshire Farm ice cream, strawberries, and set off with a subtle bit of honeycomb. The description on the menu said it contained brownie rather than strawberries which had worried me as I'm not a fan, so the fruit was welcome. We should have been told though. 

Knickerbocker Glory

Knickerbocker Glory

I like The Laundrette, especially the ambience of the place. It's a handsome addition to Chorlton-cum-Hardy. Looks great. Food's decent. Service is enthusiastic, if scatty.

The place even manages to be a bit cheeky for the right-on suburb.

Its booklet cocktail list features five sexy nymphs in lingerie in the laundry and a fully-clothed young man who seems to have been wandering past and was asked if he'd mind having his photo taken to balance things up a bit. 

The cocktail booklet - the staff are not dressed like this

The cocktail booklet - the staff are not dressed like this

That aside I feel the lack of three or four more mains is a missed opportunity. The starters were perhaps a pound over-priced as well.

Next time I'll have a go at the pizzas, maybe they'll be the best outside Campania - the cod cheeks and smoked salmon, flakes and wakame (£10) sounds intriguing.

But it should be remembered that even inside Naples pizzas are a limited food, a street food, and never one for a special occasion. In Britain we've somehow elevated them to the focus of a night out. How did that happen?

The Laundrette shows the type of mid-range food it can do with the starters. More of that sort of thing please. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE.  

The Laundrette, Beech Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy. M21 9EL. 0161 881 5777

Rating: 13.5/20 (remember venues are rated against the best examples of their type - see yellow box below)

Food: 6.5/10 (calamari 6, carpaccio 7, burrata 7, ribs 7.5, fries 5, knickerbocker glory 7.5)
Service: 3/5 
Ambience: 4/5

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away

The cleaning billThe cleaning bill

Corner spot cleans upCorner spot cleans up

Calamari and mayoCalamari and mayo

Good outdoor seatingGood outdoor seating

A proper aleA proper ale

The winelistThe winelist

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47 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Yvonne BarryAugust 27th 2013.

Love the look of the place and have been in for a beer but its overpriced in general. £3 for a small sparkling water?!?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Hero
Manc GuyAugust 27th 2013.

That's to cover the cost of the soft porn in the menu.

mancadamAugust 27th 2013.

it is massively overpriced, the pizzas are the most expensive in chorlton despite croma and the nook being better. chorlton green brasserie is overpiced as well, so no real surprise. serve their drinks in jam jars though, so i'm sure it'll be popular, sums BR up really.

1 Response: Reply To This...
ThornersAugust 27th 2013.

Chorlton Green Brasserie is not just overpriced, it's terrible food. Had a bottle of beer at the Laundrette this weekend, £4.50, won't be going back anytime soon, especially with the Parlour and Co next door.

GordoAugust 27th 2013.

err, whats a frottage freak?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Hero
Manc GuyAugust 27th 2013.

French Morris Dancers or sumat.

Dan McGlynnAugust 27th 2013.

That calamari looks awful. looks more like frozen fish goujons.

AnonymousAugust 27th 2013.

Yet another move away from the original attraction of Chorlton, it's local shops and community, to a tide of Bars, restaurants and transient clientele

1 Response: Reply To This...
Axel LariatAugust 27th 2013.

It's becoming West Didsbury, you mean. It's a pity.

AnonymousAugust 27th 2013.

Water served in jam jars! What on earth was that about? Didn't appreciate the nymphets in the menu either.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Hero
Manc GuyAugust 27th 2013.

Yep, Chorlton's large Lesbian community are going to be hanging them out to dry, and I don't mean their braziers.

AnonymousAugust 27th 2013.

I had a pizza there yesterday for the grand total of £6.50 ....if you think thats expensive then perhaps eating our just isn't for you...I've heard Aldi is a great budget supermarket!!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Matt BradyAugust 27th 2013.

That must have been the basic cheese and tomato one. Hardly worth going out for.

MarnieAugust 27th 2013.

I went last week, Pizzas were very average, the base didn't taste fresh. I would go to Croma in future, which is much nicer and cheaper too. The outdoor seating area was lovely for drinks though.

DavidAugust 27th 2013.

Well they must be doing something right as I live off Beech Road and can see the place is rammed every night.

Natalie BruntAugust 27th 2013.

£6.50 would be the margherita. All other pizzas are more expensive than that with one being £11!!! We ate there on Sunday and have to say overall disappointed with the food with the exception of the polenta chips which were very nice. Pizzas very average - not as tasty or as good value as nearby croma. Arancini tasted of nothing and bread and olives were very pricey I thought - £5 for one slice of bread (halved so it looks like 2) and a small bowl of olives. Nice atmosphere though and friendly staff, although service was pretty slow.

AnonymousAugust 27th 2013.

Every other person on Manc Con is a moaning so and so! If Croma or where ever is better and cheaper, then why not stop bloody moaning and go to them. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don't and sometimes other places do things better. No need for you all to get in such a bloody tizz over it. As for "it's local shops and community, to a tide of Bars, restaurants and transient clientele" - it's original pull was affordable housing, which is no more. .

SquirrelitoAugust 27th 2013.

No wonder he didn't go anywhere near the pizza after all that mither over the Dr Oetker's thing.

Bob nobAugust 27th 2013.

Where's my post gone?

Butcher BoyAugust 27th 2013.

I'd happily pay £5 for a knickerbocker glory but they could at least fill the glass.

Bob nobAugust 27th 2013.

I call shenanigans. The pizzas are awful and this reviewer doesn't pass comment on them at all, not even making reference to the appearance of the pizzas of other diners. It is a pizzeria and to avoid the undercooked, bland, sparsely topped, cheese free pizzas is ridiculous. He either was charmed by the ambience and chose to omit the pizzas or he's a friend of the owner

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldAugust 27th 2013.

Dear Mr Nob my reasons are in the review. Maybe read it first, all the words. I have never met the owners.

Bob nobAugust 27th 2013.

I read the whole review. You reviewed a pizza restaurant whose tagline is 'cocktails and carbs' and didn't eat drink a cocktail or eat a pizza.

FoodieAugust 27th 2013.

Mr knob?

Silly ranterAugust 27th 2013.

Mr Complete Nob

FoodieAugust 27th 2013.

It used to be soap opera laundrette ? Anyway I found their soup wishy washy

FoodieAugust 27th 2013.

The other one , carrot and coriander soap is terrible

Bob nobAugust 27th 2013.

Next week manchester confidential heads to a curry house and reviews the omelette and chips.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Bob nobAugust 27th 2013.

I went to Bombay (Mumbai) once so I'm not prepared to try the curry.

Trevor DoorAugust 27th 2013.

Mr Nob with a Bone

FoodieAugust 28th 2013.

Quite funny this

FoodieAugust 28th 2013.

Jonathan will give a 10 for the omelette

HelenfrancescaAugust 28th 2013.

Walked passed on Monday eve and all the outdoor seating was upturned in one corner. It was only around 7.45-8pm, what's that about? Plan heading back before the sun and warmth vanishes for a cocktail and pizza though. It's a very attractive addition to Beech Rd IMO

Christine LawleyAugust 28th 2013.

Ha ha, you south Manc poseurs slay me, you're ' being taken to the cleaners' on a regular basis . A case of ' Emperors New ( ly - Laundered ) Clothes' all over again It seems that any opportunist can open up in ' ironic' old premises in Chorlton, serve up Lidl mozzarella, etc and you jokers are taken in ....

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldAugust 28th 2013.

Chorlton is a fantastic place to live close to Christine and one of the few places with a real sense of itself, of identity. I don't know where you live, I live five mins over the border in Old Trafford, but any place that has that sense of itself and a decent fishmongers, butchers, deli and wineshop is a good place. It's a shame there are few other Manchester suburbs with that superb level of identity and amenity.

JAugust 28th 2013.

apparently they've only got an alcohol license for outside until 5pm at the moment

JAugust 28th 2013.

sorry, that was supposed to be a reply to helenfrancesca re no seats outside in evening

AnonymousSeptember 11th 2013.

Completely agree - this whole "support local business" nonsense tends to have big Chorlton overtones. Sadly, the value for money, and service offered by these "local businesses" tends to be either minimal or piss-take. Parlour, for example is happy to charge around £8 for a sandwich, but refuse to throw in a handful of chips.

AnonymousAugust 28th 2013.

£47 for that... honestly!

Jonny BAugust 28th 2013.

I enjoyed it when I went, my pizza (the one with black pudding, sausage and ham) was delicious. The person I went with had Beetroot & Gorgonzola which they loved. The couple next to us were complaining their pizza's tasted bland, so they must have picked the wrong ones! Was about £30 for two pizzas and some wine. Didn't seem too expensive and I would go again. Lots of w@nkers commenting, so I thought I would too.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 28th 2013.

'Must have picked the wrong ones'...and there was me thinking it was the kitchen who were responsible for providing decent dishes.

BenSeptember 10th 2013.

So you reviewed a pizza restaurant without reviewing the pizzas... clap... clap... clap. And as for Chorlton having too many pizza places? It has two. And one is a bar that serves pizzas some of the time, so perhaps not strictly a pizza restaurant. If you've had great pizza in Naples, then why wouldn't you try them to compare? What if they'd been great?! Baffling.

AnonymousOctober 22nd 2013.

I am genuinely concerned that this place is going to go under unless they improve their menu and reduce the prices. It has been open for nearly 3 months and in that time, myself and many friends have been to check out the drinks, cocktails and food and all have left disappointed. The venue itself is great, I love the ambience and the staff are great. Some of the food is overpriced and many dishes are too small for the price tag or too bland in flavour. Some of the cocktails are like drinking fruit pop and many of the other drinks are overpriced. After the initial rush of people going to try it out dies down, in my opinion they will see sales drop as i think most people will try it once or twice and then not go back. I hope i'm proved wrong....

AnonymousDecember 8th 2013.

Absolutely love this place . Been several times for drinks and food and haven't found fault.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 8th 2013.

I've also been a couple of times and found the food distinctly average and overpriced.

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