Seafood restaurant comes to Highbury & Islington
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Seafood, British
Address : 34 Drayton Park, Highbury East, Islington, London , N5 1PB, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.westernslaundry.com
Opening Times : Tues-Thurs: 5.30pm-10.30pm; Sat-Sun: 12–3pm, 5.30pm–10.30pm
Closest Tube : Drayton Park, Holloway Road
Every so often you stumble across that unique restaurant which can transport you out of the quotidian and into holiday mode, and on a hot bright summer evening, Westerns Laundry is one such place. Borrowing its name from its reconditioned space‘s former iteration, the worn pink and cream edifice feels as if it were transplanted from a Greek isle, an impression compounded by a gnarled olive tree twisting in its courtyard. Launched by Jeremie Cornetto-Liegenheim and David Gingell of nearby Primeur, this restaurant continues to transport with its Mediterranean-ish cooking and punchy Parisian-ish neo bistro natural wine list. The thing is, Westerns Laundry is perhaps better than its source material.
Taking our seats in the sun which shone in across the austere square room into the open plan kitchens where diners perched on stools in front of the counter. Menus are eschewed in favour of chalkboards, where a handsome array of dishes contend with an equally comely selection of wines, all low-intervention with limited filtering or sulphites added. From this we opt for a Quarticello ‘Fernando‘ Lambrusco Rosato, a brisk aperitif, and jersey oysters lashed with chilli vinegar. Early signs were promising.
We then segued into white wine and more seafood. The ‘Petit Tetu‘ Chardonnay was a tour de force and a scintillating accompaniment to the dishes that followed. Of everything sampled, a number stood out as exceptionally brilliant. The carapace of a Spanish ham croquette crackled away to reveal a centre as black as night, injected with cuttlefish ink. Cured salmon with crab, cucumber and crème fraiche offers a masterclass in buoyancy, each individual component playing off one another‘s lightness. For anyone who appreciates a good ribollita, the butter beans with tomato, basil and parmesan are powerfully flavoured with a punch of oregano. The talking point dish is the baked lobster fideo, which swaps out the Arborio rice of paella for short soft strands of pasta and crisps them up in a Valencian rice dish.
If, for any reason, you‘re in need of a holiday but can‘t quite get away, we highly recommend the culinary odyssey on offer at Westerns Laundry. One of our favourite openings of 2017.