The Laundry Canteen & Bar
2-18 Warbuton Road, E8 3FN
0208 986 0738
AKA: Radiohead: the food years
The deal: The Laundry is a huge, industrial building on the edge of London Fields, set up in part by Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien to be one of the area's main creative hubs. So it makes sense that to feed all the super-cool music, art and production companies that dwell in the upstairs offices, there needs to be a decent canteen. And bar too - we all know how well those liquid lunch meetings go. The restaurant is a huge, warehouse space, decorated with all the standard East London fixtures and there's always a smattering of oh-so-important chats going on around you - iTunes next app success story is probably being discussed over a bowl of ravioli.
The food: The menu is an eclectic mix of tastes, from traditional bistro choices like rib-eye steak with twice-cooked chips and Bearnaise (£22.5) or a classic burger through to more adventurous plates like a salt and spice roasted pork belly with pak choi, caramelised peanut and chilli (£14.5). The intriguing gin-cured sea bass with shaved fennel and orange (£7) was sadly unavailable on our visit, so we plumped for the chargrilled nectarines with rocket and buffalo mozzerella (£6.5), with the juicy fruit working contrasting well with the creamy cheese. The chargrilled aubergine (£6.5) was pleasingly smokey and pepped up with a tahini dressing and bursts of pomegranate seeds. We moved on to a generous plate of beef carpaccio served with parmesan shavings (£7), and then enjoyed the perfectly pan-fried sea bream with pomme puree and caramelised fennel (£16.5). Rounding things off was a delicately fragranced elderflower and gooseberry parfait, served with oddly moreish candied sourdough (£6). Now it's cocktail o'clock - make sure to check out The Kick (£9), made with chilli vodka to get a bit of fire in your belly.
Signature dish: The kitchen seems to excel at fish dishes - we'd definitely order the sea bream again.
When to dine: If you're looking for a buzzy, central Hackney lunchtime spot, this is probably it. Plus, the size of the restaurant means it's handy for any large group bookings, too.
Damage to pocket: Mains clock in around £16 so a three-course dinner with wine will set you back about £35 a head.
File under: Mid-week munches, Great With Mates, Weekenders, Brunching