Inside London’s New 70s Restaurant: Coin Laundry

January 8, 2016

Mandy Morello discovers 70’s food in Exmouth Market’s latest vintage bar, hoping it will be as good as the decade.

Vintage has become a popular choice when opening a new concept bar in London and there seems to be a number of nostalgia infested drinks popping up everywhere. From bourbon shakes to Mad Men inspired cocktails; you can’t walk far without headbutting a rustic propaganda sign. So it comes as no surprise that a new vintage style bar has opened just in time for Christmas drinks. Coin Laundry is the newest edition to the Clerkenwell area, located in Exmouth Market’s hot foodie spot.

After a ten minute walk from Angel Station, my beehive is glittered with rain and my shoes have begun to squelch. I fling myself inside Coin Laundry for shelter and a stiff drink. It has a cold colour palette and from the offset I see that the vintage aura is not created in an obvious way. The interior is minimalistic and some of the waitresses are in slightly subtle ‘50s attire and a few in smart uniform. The bar is spread over two levels. I head downstairs which is fairly cosier and has a vintage pinball machine tucked in the corner. Modern Art is laced throughout and a selection of board games is piled by the stairs which gives a cheap but entertaining touch.

Chicken Kiev

As you can imagine, the drinks menu is dressed up with old classic cocktails. I am greeted with a white chocolate and raspberry bellini. Although it looks and sounds like a menstruating woman’s dream, it tastes like a dodgy yoghurt. The fizz and sharpness doesn’t compliment these dessert ingredients at all. The after-dinner drink, The Grasshopper, is also a sweet old favourite that Coin Laundry prides themselves on. It tastes like a creamy after-eight and is perfect for fans of toothpaste flavours. I find it all rather too indulgent and I long for a beer instead.

Their bottled beer selection is intriguing and I eye up a bottle of Yeastie Boys’ Gunnamatta IPA which tastes like an Earl Grey iced tea. It is the perfect distraction from the sugar overload I’m having. I try another bottle. This time, The Calypso, which is blend that tastes strongly of orange. I could stay all night trying this beer selection but decide to line the stomach before my head hits the bar.

The food menu is designed by head chef Nik Prescot and follows the retro theme of the ‘70s and ‘80s British comfort food. Tender chicken kievs are spruced up and taste far from the plastic-textured frozen food you get from the supermarket. The kievs are the main event here and Coin Laundry have installed a countdown, which cleverly creates an urgency to order one before there’s none left. I tuck into a creamy Prawn Cocktail which is layered into a glass bowl. It’s light enough to leave room for more booze in my, now, quite compact stomach. As someone who lives alone, the food here makes me feel like I’m back at my parents house, but my Mum has invested in culinary school and has made her usual go-to dinners much, much better. The morning menu is enough to make me consider getting up early enough for breakfast.

There bar food menu offers drinking snacks that are reworked into something fancier than they normally look in your local boozer. But things like the very impressive display of cheese and pineapple sticks cost £5 which seems a bit steep for this easy to make snack. I wish I stayed clear from the Spag Bol Croquettes which needs to be washed down with an excess amount of beer because it’s sucking all the moisture out of my mouth.


The staff encourage me to grab one of their signature soda stream drinks. I think any proper drinker that enjoys proper drinking should make a beeline for the beers over a home carbonated cocktail. Their Coin Laundry Americano (a sodastream cocktail, not coffee) is an acquired taste that only vermouth fans could possibly enjoy- there just wasn’t enough flavour from the soda. Though, I am happy to see that the once forgotten Snowball has made it on to the menu, and I welcome it’s wintery return.

I don’t think Coin Laundry needed to invest in a vintage pinball machine or some second hand board games to capture the essence of the ‘70s and ‘80s because the food menu does that on its own. I’d be more than happy to make several returns here for future boozey lunches and the odd rice krispies breakfast on my own and on a non-hangover day. Just head to the downstairs bar with a pickled egg, chat to the bar tenders and discover awesome beer. Fuck the vintage, this place is all about comfort.

More Nosh:   

The Spread Eagle

This Young’s Camden pub’s carefully crafted pub food and extremely cozy environment makes me feel instantly at home. Sipping a white rioja whilst eating the Duck Shepherd’s Pie is the peak of comfort for me. Their menu adapts to what’s in season, but their signature Camden Patty burger is available all year round. I’d recommend coming on a Sunday for Bloody Marys, Roasts and pulling up a pew with the Sunday newspaper.

The Bull Islington

This is the first time I came across purple potatoes. They taste better than they look and are called Purple Majesty potatoes. These, accompanied with a Brie tart plus seasonal vegetables was the perfect plate of warmth and shelter from the outside weather. Just like the food, the beer taps are seasonal and always have something interesting installed.

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