Monday 12 August 2013

The Laundrette, Chorlton

I've been keeping a close eye on the conversion from the old closed laundrette Soap Opera on Beech road into new The Laundrette restaurant. When they finally opened on Saturday we were the first in at 5.01pm! They open officially today (Monday), but had their 'soft opening' at the weekend. We bagged the seat at the edge looking out onto the street. It was a bit like sitting in a goldfish bowl, they've had so much interest in people walking past, it's a great location on the corner opposite the park.
They've done a really great job on the conversion with the exposed brickwork and rustic vintage details it wouldn't look out of place in the Northern Quarter. (They unearthed some old tiles the previous owner didn't even know about.) We also loved the outdoor sofas, but their licence currently prohibits any alcohol outside after 5pm. (They hope to have this sorted soon.) So we sat inside looking out.
My rule with pizza is that I always drink red wine with it, but as we were carrying on afterwards, I stuck to beer. I ordered a decent IPA from Stoke-on-trent brewery Titanic. They will be getting some of this beer on tap as well - a fine choice. It was starting to fill out now, within half an hour nearly every table was full.
 I love the fact that they have limited their menu, they're sticking mainly to pizzas, and this is the only thing they had on on Saturday. (I'll be returning soon to sample the ribs, mac n' cheese etc.)
Our pizzas soon arrived. I had Chorizo, birds eye Chilli tomato and ricotta (£8).
I'm quite fussy about my pizza, to be honest I was disappointed, but I don't really want to be overly critical, I want to support these guys - as living on Beech road is such a big part of my life. Besides, they'd only been open half an hour, and I don't think they'd got to grips with the oven yet. But we gave them constructive feedback at the time; in my case it was underdone, too small, not enough toppings, and I'd failed to notice my pizza doesn't have mozzarella - rendering it quite dry. The four small chunks of ricotta weren't really doing it for me. Why be so mean with the toppings on the very first day? I don't understand it. As I never tire of saying, people in Chorlton want value for money. It may cost you a few pennies more, but I'll be back for more again and again. It was missing that juicy element, where the cheese is just going brown at the edges slightly, and bang it's done to perfection! The base was clearly proper home made though. (Everything is made fresh on the premises.) My friend Ms Arroz thought her Slow roasted pork, tomato baked egg, pineapple & chutney (£10) looked a little anaemic as well!
Now for the good news; another friend really enjoyed her Gorgonzola, beetroot cream and watercress (£7.50) it sure looked pretty.
Mrs Bacon's choice was also a favourite with her; Wild Mushroom, Truffle cream Pancetta, Rocket (£11.)
So 2 out of 4 isn't bad for a first try out.
In truth I know we're in safe hands with them coming for the same team as the Chorlton Green Brasserie, almost everything was spot on, the little details on the menu; pre-wash, full load etc were great. Service was really friendly too. The pizzas weren't quite there yet, but I'm confident they will get these down to a fine T in no time.
Cocktails were enjoyable - I had a Porn Star Martini. We also noticed a neighbouring table had one in a large bag!

Once the chef has bedded in, I'm sure the The Laundrette will become another firm favourite of ours and a fine addition to Beech road and Chorlton.

So I returned to The Laundrette for lunch, hoping that they had got over the first night wobbles. They had. It had much improved in just a week.
To start I had Truffle Mac n' Cheese.(£7.) This was adequate. Knowing who I was, the manager asked if this dish could be improved. I couldn't think at the time. Now I can, I think it needs more liquid and truffle oil. I had a really good one at All Star Lanes this needs sampling to compare, it was superb.
The pizza was so much better as well. Huge improvements; full of toppings. This time I had Frosty's Smoked Ham, Bury Black Pudding, Spicy Sausage. (£10) I enjoyed it, the rich robust flavour of the black pudding, sausage and tomato was well tasty.
Where's the cheese though? For me a pizza is always the combination of molten cheese+few toppings+thin base = food heaven. Each part of the formula has to be correct. Plus getting the timing spot on. For me, these pizzas still need a tiny bit longer in the oven. I always presume mozzarella comes as part of the package as well, but I guess I can always ask for it as an additional topping next time. But it was so much better, I am perhaps being over fussy and asking way too much, it's still only been open a week.
My companion had the Margherita (£6.50.) Again, huge improvements over last week.
For pudding, we had a Knickerbocker Glory (£5) This was fine, it was essentially ice cream and brownie, it needed more raspberries and more fruit, and they'd run out of the honeycomb element.
It's worth noting that it was Friday lunch time and was extremely busy, so people seem to have really taken to The Laundrette. It's location on Beech road is perfect and the food was much better this time as I'd hoped it would be. It's not the best pizza ever, but it's just about good enough. We will be back....
Price: Chorlton prices.
Service: Friendly.
Atmosphere: Trendy.

Food: Adequate.
Star dish:
Frosty's Smoked Ham, Bury Black Pudding, Spicy Sausage pizza.
Score: 3/10
  Menu: Click to enlarge.

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  1. I echo your sentiments in terms of giving them time but the photos were really disappointing and you would have hoped they'd have got to grips with cooking pizzas before opening as that's all they do.

    It's almost like they've deliberately underdone them and put on barely any topping then passed that off as some kind of style. Bit weird. Will be interesting to see if style sticks.

  2. Spot on review. I was there on Saturday night too and couldn't have written a better review. I'm sure the pizza's or lack of, was just an opening night issue that they will address soon. A great addition to a lively Beech Road, which has something for everybody.

  3. Please get rid of the jam jar glasses. I don't expect after paying for a cocktail for it to arrive in a jam jar. A glass is not just for decoration, it lets the drink breath and also prepares the user to what they are about to pass on to the lips.
    You wouldn't eat a steak with a chip fork.
    It was naff in the 1990s and still naff today. It looks cheap.

  4. I went to The Laundette on Sunday for lunch with my girlfriend - who's birthday it was. I had Calamari, which was quite pleasant and she had risotto balls or something, which I thought were totally bland. Then I had the ham, sausage and black pudding pizza as above and, as above, I was stung with the lack of cheese, it was basically a bit of meat on toast and dry as you like, I wish they would have said something to me about this when I ordered because it had the potential to be quite nice with a bit of cheese, but that is the price you pay for pretentiousness. We also ordered the Truffle Mac and Cheese which came in a little pan with a lid and when I opened the lid there was a big black hair in it (as with the cheese, not on the menu), this is just straight up abhorrent. I also think the owner must have taken your truffle oil suggestion to heart because it was drenched in the stuff to an unpleasant degree and was just sickly. I didn't even complain about this! My girlfriend opted for the Truffle cream and pancetta pizza which was also overpoweringly truffley (yeah...truffley)to the point where she sat there highly embarrassed because she was unable to eat it, the waitresses must have clocked this I think as they did everything in their power to avoid asking if everything was alright. When someone did come over I said ''no everything is not alright, my girlfriend really does not like her pizza'' (by this point the waitresses’ previously pleasant lay-it-on-with-a-trowel politeness had become patronising and irrelevant.) my girlfriend was awkwardly asked "so it's just that you don't like it, not that there is anything wrong with it?" which again is totally irrelevant. She said she was quite full and didn't want anything else (which I suspect came from her shear embarrassment of the situation due to a waitress who, although pleasant, was essentially useless and unhelpful and (apologies if this sounds arrogant) poorly trained). When the bill came I was not surprised to see they had left this £11 god awful pizza on the bill, now I have to admit that I was unfathomably hung over and in no mood for complaining, I severely regret that! When the waitress came over to take the £68 (!!!!!!!!) off me she said "apart from the pizza was everything else ok?" (a pointless and insincere question to which the answer should have been "no it was not") I said (incredibly politely) , "if I had opened a brand new business and someone said they didn't like a pizza and they didn't eat ANY of it, I would NOT put it on the bill. It is absolute suicide" she said something along the lines of "Sowwwweeeeee, I'm weally weally sowwweeee about all of that" as usual but didn't take it off the bill and told me she didn't have the authority and no one there did (if this is true, I think it is absurd). I also said I would not be going again, this didn’t seem to phase her. This was on Sunday and I have not stopped thinking about how bad it was, SO MUCH SO I feel compelled to write about it, I have never even thought to do this before. They have some really fundamental problems to address and it is without doubt the worst experience I have ever had in a restaurant.

    1. Thanks for your comments, makes interesting reading. I think they really need to address the food coming out of their kitchen as quite clearly there are issues that really need addressing. If your USP is cocktails and pizzas, you need make sure that they're both shit hot. At the moment, that is clearly not the case. Sadly it looks like another case of style over content, that seems all quite common in Chorlton.

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  6. The worst bit is that we were going to go in The Parlor for Sunday dinner but instead chose there. I did notice that there was some ridiculous key at the side of the pizza's in some tenuous attempt at staying with the laundErette theme, however there is not one for 'no cheese'there is a 'no tomato' and a chili on an iron, which I assume is for 'heat' and there is another which I can't really decipher but it looks a bit like a hypodermic needle in a bucket, but not one for 'no cheese.' Plus how many times have we all shrunk our favorite cardigan because we can't make out the label, I don't want to have to think about that when I'm eating my tea. I quite like the name because it used to be a laundErette but it doesn't need to go any deeper than that. They need to spend more time on the food and service and hair nets and less on cutesy names for the different parts of the menu.

    1. I don't mind all that stuff, in fact I quite like it, but the food has to come first and justify it all. I just don't understand how come they've not concentrated on getting the food right before they opened.

  7. Yeah I suppose there is no harm in the key thing, I think I am clearly jaded by my experience and feel robbed to be honest. I think the food, although important, is not the issue really for me (despite it being abysmal). I think if someone doesn't like a dish (especially something as cheap to make as a pizza, even if it is slathered in truffle oil) they shouldn't have to pay for it. You may not have experienced the level of frustrating service that I did but I thought it was really poor and not at all conducive to running a successful business. There was not one slice eaten off the pizza!

  8. hi Adam, many thanks for your comments, as I mentioned via twitter i hope we can speak later as promised so I can understand more of what happened and hopefully try and restore some faith back into you for our restaurant.
    Kind regards
    Jon and Patrick

  9. Just had lunch there today and am sad to report none of the problems seem to be addressed.

    Dough ball starters were tasteless with an awkward and fatty slab of butter and undressed rocket. The roast pork, egg, and pineapple chutney pizza was dry as a bone and topped with pork scratchings which may have been rocks they were so hard. Went for the knickerbocker dessert and was disappointed to find the brownies were dry and rock hard.

    I am unsure if the food was stale or just poorly cooked but my family and I won't be back. Particularly not when there are so many beautiful alternatives right down the road.