Westerns Laundry, Drayton Park
Having just won a Bib Gourmand, Westerns Laundry really does epitomise what brilliant, fine dining can be like at completely affordable prices. The laid back atmosphere paired with a comfortable but very professional service makes this place an absolute winner.
On an unsuspecting road around Islington, and in the most unexpected building, you’ll find the glass and steel front of the restaurant behind a little green oasis like space. Inside, the interior is industrial and wooden, all pared back to quality and cool fittings without too much faff - essentially a hint to what’s to come in the food and wine.
The food here is seasonal, simple and excellently executed. The menu is full of small plates to share and good mix of meat, fish and vegetables. Each small plate is pretty generous too, so it’s not a case of only a couple of bites of each between two people sharing - you can definitely go back for more!
We went to Westerns Laundry on a blustery Wednesday evening at the start of October. It was dark outside, cold and one of those days whose purpose it was to introduce and brace you for the winter to come. So on this night, the pumpkin and chestnut farro couldn’t have been more fitting and comforting. With a slight nod to risotto and the rich and sweet puree of pumpkin, it was a perfect autumnal dish to get me excited for the knitwear and more nights in! The halved chestnuts provided a change in the texture every other mouthful, as well as a savoury element to bring the sweetness down a little.
Another of my favourites from our evening was the assorted onions and cows curd. The assorted onions were not only assorted in the variety of onions but also the cooking style; some battered and deep fried, others slowly cooked and braised. The sweetness of the golden onions and the crispy onion rings were the perfect pairing to the fresh, creamy and slightly tangy cows curd. I find curd can sometimes have a cloying nature but this was just on the perfect side of thickness to slather and cling onto the onions, but smooth and silky once in your mouth.
They’ve taken their wine list seriously here and even better, the ‘by the glass’ section is full of a really eclectic mix. The staff are more than happy to offer some guidance and suggestions, and to give you a few tasters to try - we couldn’t agree on a white carafe to share, ending up tasting six different wines and then going by the glass! I started on a funky Sicilian 2016 white, a pretty golden murkiness in a glass that shot straight through the food and rounded each mouthful to a most satisfying conclusion. The red carafe which we did decide on was a 2015 pinot noir from Bugey, which paired really well with both the richer farro and the clean and very green monk fish. The fat in each dish was balanced by the light tannins in the pinot, whilst the earthiness of the dishes matched with the subtle leather and woody notes.
Westerns Laundry is firmly added to my favourites because of its ethos on taking food and wine seriously, whilst making it all accessible and affordable. There is zero pretension here and I love that - it’s just what London is about now. It’s the type of place you can go to for any occasion (or every occasion!) too - a date night, an early evening with mum or an intimate dinner with only your closest, food-appreciating friends. You really have no excuse to not go!