North London’s unassuming Lower Holloway neighbourhood is to receive a trend-setting new restaurant called Westerns Laundry, from the founders of Primeur in Stoke Newington, a 20-minute walk away.
Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim and David Gingell will open Westerns Laundry in April. It will occupy part of an old 1950s building, with interiors exhibiting a “textured, pared back aesthetic”. The seafood-based menu of small plates (a familiar trend) will change daily, with listings chalked up on a board.
Much like Primeur, which is on a residential road some distance from the nearest Tube station, this will also be off the beaten track, behind a gate in an unassuming forecourt planted with Himalayan birch trees. During summer months (like Primeur) floor-to-ceiling doors will open out to the fresh air.
Westerns Laundry says that the dining room will be lined with communal tables and banquettes made from Shou Sugi Ban charred larch and covered in electric blue British velvet, lit by vintage incandescent strip lights. 1940s Michael Thonet chairs will sit alongside kiln-fired crockery from the Miami Valley Pottery in Ohio, and Bristol-based artisan potter, Carmel Eskell.
Two paintings by Katie Boxer will hang in the dining room, one depicting American poet and playwright James Baldwin, the other, a lion entitled I Won’t Eat You. An open kitchen will have ten counter seats.
There will also be a 14-cover private dining room with Victorian bay windows. Globetrender is relieved the “industrial chic” vibe is finally being replaced by something different.
With fish and seafood bought directly from fishermen in Devon and Cornwall, Westerns Laundry takes British-sourced ingredients seriously.
Dishes will include sea bass and seaweed tartare (£7.50), raw scallop with Le Coste olive oil (£8), sardines, salted in-house (£3.50) and chargrilled mackerel served with miso and chilli (£11).
Working with a small collective of farms in North Yorkshire, there will also be pork loin with chopped greens, basil and capers (£12), and beef rump with roast garlic butter and croutons (£16).
Gingell says: “Westerns Laundry will be lighter and more delicate than Primeur, rooted in British flavours but influenced by our favourite aspects of Southern Europe with the occasional nod to Asia, with raw fish, shellfish and smoky flavours from a Robata grill. Working so closely with our suppliers means that we can create dishes that let the ingredients shine, without over complicating the cooking.”
There will also be “changing wine verticals, showcasing all the cuvees from a single producer, and a leather-bound, handwritten, ‘black book’ featuring fine wines and older vintages.” A Coravin system will allow some of these to be served by the glass.
Specialist Belgian beers will be available in 750ml bottles, alongside a small batch of hand-picked vermouths and gin (no other spirits will be available).
Why is it called Westerns Laundry? There used to be a laundry service of the same name in the building. It has nothing to do with the French Laundry in California.