Cock­tails and carbs are dish of the day at themed eatery

Sunderland Echo - - Food & Drink -

Is one of New­cas­tle’s new­est restau­rants worth get­ting in a spin about? I put the menu at The Laun­drette through a full cy­cle to find out. Last time I vis­ited a laun­drette was in my stu­dent days when vis­its were al­ways more of a chore than a treat – but it cer­tainly looked noth­ing like this.

Though it’s housed be­neath the new stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion build­ing near Cen­tral Sta­tion, this isn’t a joint that’s aimed at the peo­ple up­stairs.

This is a laun­drette for the In­sta­gram age where neon signs flash against black stud­ded booths, in­dus­trial chic fit­tings and ’50s-style Amer­i­cana im­ages of pin ups sprawled over wash­ing ma­chines. It’s hip­ster, there’s no doubt about that, but it man­ages to still re­tain a laid back, wel­com­ing at­mos­phere.

One neon sign looms large above the well-stocked bar em­bla­zoned with the words ‘cock­tails and carbs’. They don’t mess around with calo­ries here: it’s a place where you leave your diet at the door. Mean­while, an­other sign tells you to ‘drop your pants’ – no mis­tak­ing that that’s where the bath­rooms are then.

The bar sign was fitting, the menu is a ver­i­ta­ble carb fest of piz­zas, pas­tas, truf­fle mac ‘n’ cheese, lasagna and other belly busters. We chose to dine tapas-style, shar­ing starter dishes of truf­fle smoked cheese fon­due with gar­lic balls (£6), bre­saola and buffalo moz­zarella cap­rese with pick­led wild mush­rooms and truf­fle cream (£9), hum­mus, pesto and flat­bread (£4.50) and a main dish of pro­sciutto pizza (£11).

The cap­rese salad was good, but I’ve had bet­ter else­where. We en­joyed the retro fon­due and its in­tense rich­ness more and we mopped up ev­ery last drop with the pun­gent gar­lic balls.

Mean­while, the hum­mus had that sat­is­fy­ing chunk­i­ness you just don’t get from shop-bought ver­sions.

It was the pizza, how­ever, which stole the show. I’d spied a pizza oven in the open kitchen which spans the length of the back wall so I had high hopes. Italy’s na­tional dish had the crisp bub­bles of a base that’s been cooked at that per­fect high tem­per­a­ture and was loaded with sliver upon sliver of cured ham and fresh rocket. Per­fect stuff to mop up the drinks list.

Wine op­tions are lim­ited, this is not the place for those af­ter a fine wine. In­stead their fo­cus seems to lie firmly with cock­tails with sec­tions de­voted to shots, bloody Marys, botan­i­cal ver­sions and more. Many of them are nov­elty af­fairs, a rasp­berri floss (£8.50) is served with a base of vodka and dram­buie which has been boosted with the added calo­ries of limon­cello, cream and grena­dine and topped off with a cloud of baby pink can­dyfloss. Oth­ers come served in flam­ing pineap­ples and glasses made to look like clas­sic Toon tip­ple New­cas­tle Brown Ale. Prices for cock­tails may be a lit­tle on the ex­pen­sive side, but there’s some de­gree of drama and theatre gone into their con­coc­tion. Mixol­ogy is a real soap opera at The Laun­drette.


Prosci­utto pizza.

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