So when I first interviewed Melanie Brown back in 2020, I was delighted to find out that she was opening up shop on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton. The same Coldharbour Lane where you’ll find curry goat ramen from Nanban, a cup of traditional Eritrean coffee from Asmara, and scotch bonnet prawns with some excellent rum at Wood and Water (formerly Three Little Birds). Back then, Brown’s new venture had only been open for a few months, and we were speaking during a time when the pandemic was but a blip on our radars. It’s now 2022 and we’re sitting at a sunlit table at The Laundry, named so because it’s housed in an Edwardian building that used to be, you guessed it, a laundry. Though trends may change, the exposed brick walls, distressed plaster, and muted colour scheme that the restaurant plays with are all still easy on the eye—a perfect combination of old meets new.
“Without a doubt, I think the entire industry has become more resilient, creative, and ultimately curious,” says Brown as we discuss how her business has evolved since they opened. “This has set the most incredible ethics and determination within our immediate fold, helping us to curate dining experiences that exceed expectations. Head chef Sami and my own antipodean background certainly plays a part in our offering, which, when we first set out, was a much more refined restaurant. Now, we like to take feedback and work towards creating an environment that is full of passion and experience,” she adds. We talk about Brixton and how it’s gone through its own evolution—many scoff at the gentrification that’s taken place, but our conversation focuses on how the pandemic has made people yearn for the sense of community that a neighbourhood provides and how the past few years have impacted the look and feel of many London neighbourhoods.
Our orders arrive and though simple-sounding on paper, the dishes pop off the plate: the Turkish poached eggs come with fluffy whipped yoghurt, a moreish chilli butter, are served with sourdough bread, and pay tribute to a place that played a big role in The Laundry’s journey, The Providores, the much-loved Marylebone icon which closed three years ago; banana bread is taken to another level with a mouth-watering honeycomb butter; and even the humble granola is made that much more special with some stewed berries and yoghurt. Looking around, it’s evident that The Laundry has become a hub for locals—friends are catching up over a cuppa, a woman and her laptop are making me envious about her Work From Laundry situation, and Brown tells me their patio is always packed with al fresco diners on warmer days. The simple but creative menu at The Laundry wowed me so much so that I’ve now booked their gorgeous private dining room downstairs for my birthday dinner. Their all-day menu includes seasonal dishes like roasted squash with whipped stilton, caramelised spicy walnuts, and lamb’s lettuce; a Winter vegetable stew with rouille sauce; and Brown’s current favourite, duck confit, with olive relish, sauce verde, and Paris mash. When I ask Brown what experience she hopes guests leave with, the answer is simple: “I think it would be a feeling of comfort, visiting a restaurant should be the perfect synergy of food, service, ambience, lighting and hospitality,” she shares. “We're driven to deliver this at every turn with our incredible team.”
Address: 374 Coldharbour Ln, London SW9 8PL, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 20 8103 9384
Love finding a good spot for brunch in London? Check out our guide here for the best New Years Day spots here