‘Cocktails and carbs’ and ‘Eating is treating’ are the motto’s of The Laundrette restaurant and bar, and to be honest both sit perfectly well with me. I was vaguely aware that the Laundrette originated in Manchester, but hearing that we were getting our very own in Newcastle near central station, complete with locally themed signature cocktails definitely had me intrigued.
Whenever I try somewhere new, I really try not to have a look at their website before I go. I prefer to judge based on my own experience and first impressions, and although I was invited to the blogger opening event last week, while I was there I booked up to go back the following night with my friends, which should give you an idea of how good it was. I’ve never returned somewhere so quickly!
This post therefore is based on both of my experiences, so I’ll be clear from the start that the drinks and food we enjoyed at the event were complimentary, but my second visit for a girls night packed full of carbs and cocktails was fully paid for by ourselves. I’d usually go through everything in order, from arrival, first impressions, drinks, food etc, but this is going to be a bit different.
The Laundrette pride themselves on being high quality establishments with a good helping of fun thrown in, and they have three ingredients that make up this recipe for a good night out at their bar in Newcastle – cocktails, carbs and a laid-back soundtrack with a pumping atmosphere. So let’s go through them.
Cocktails at The Laundrette
The 10+ page cocktail menu is packed full, there’s something to cover every taste and all have a Laundrette spin to them. The ‘Originals’ cover some of the most fancy, and here you’ll find the Raspberry Flossi with that big instagrammable whip of candyfloss on top, the Soap Opera Gimlet – made with the Laundrette’s own gin and served with a top up, and the I Scream for Ice Cream – which comes with a big scoop of ice cream.
The ‘Classic twists’ include old favourites, mojitos, coladas, old fashioned’s and a rum punch. Each one comes presented beautifully, with an added twist in the form of decoration. Take a look at this waffle on the ‘Wafflin’ on Old Fashioned’ and you’ll get the idea.
For a more delicate choice the Skinny Minnies page has creations that include Two for Joy, Absolut Milf and Leon’s Love Juice, for groups the sharers page is packed full of choice, and the following pages cover hot chocolates, kids options, mocktails and fruity favourites.
Laundrette with Love
This one was a firm favourite across both nights, a gin based cocktail, with a pink fizz chaser and pretty candied love hearts for decoration. Beautiful to taste and to look at!
Personally I’m not a fan of candyfloss drinks, as I often find that there’s more candyfloss than cocktail, but this one comes served in a big globe which is pretty much equal to the fabulous fluff of floss that sits on the top. My friend Amanda had this one as an alternative to a desert which is a good idea for something sweet. She said it was unreal, without being too sickly and was perfect after all the food.
I Scream for Ice Cream
This was the first one I tried, and I did regret choosing it. The ice cream was amazing, but for me the mix of chocolately smelling ice cream didn’t match the taste I was expecting. It’d made with amaretto, which usually overpowers the taste of any cocktail, but it didn’t really come through. The taste was a lot more bitter, so it’s not one I’d be having again.
Soap Opera Gimlet
I LOVED this one and it completely rectified my disappointment at the I Scream for Ice Cream. For starters look how pretty it is, but more importantly it tasted delicious. Gin based with refreshing lemongrass and chamomile it was light and easy to drink. Traditionally served in a smaller glass, they make sure you get the full whack by serving a top up on ice with it.
Two for Joy – unique to Newcastle
One of the signature Newcastle cocktails Two for Joy was my favourite across both nights, complete with two magpie feathers for decoration. It even took the limelight away from the Soap Opera Gimlet. Tasting a bit like a solero ice lolly, and made with gin and elderflower liqueur it was an absolute joy to drink. Any cocktail with a strong gin, and a nod towards the local football team is going to get my vote. Well played Laundrette.
Toon Tipple – unique to Newcastle
The other signature Newcastle cocktail is the Toon Tipple, and one you’re also likely to see splashed across Instagram. Served in a can with a brown ale crest, the toon tipple is the special. We were shown exactly how the bar staff make it to perfection. It’s basically a spruced up Espresso Martini, and was a firm favourite with all of us who tried it.
Carbs at The Laundrette
Stuffed full of mouth watering dishes, the menu really is a carb lovers dream. At the blogger event we were given a selection of so many different dishes, starting with sharing platters with olives and antipasto, sticky chicken wings smothered in sauce, and the most incredible dough balls with dipping cheese. I mean seriously.
There was also pitta bread and hummus, breaded mushrooms and cheesy garlic bread. We were like vultures diving in to that lot, and it was the most satisfying food I’d had in a long time. Sometimes comfort food just wins life.
We were all really shocked when they told us that was just for starters, I don’t think we expected more food so if you go and become so tempted with all the starters please keep in mind the mains are equally moreish!
Pizzas of various flavours, burgers, veggie burgers and even tuna steaks made their way in front of us next. I wasn’t really keen on the burgers, I think the black bun put me off and I’m not sure if this is year round or just a special for Halloween, but also keep in mind I don’t usually order burgers anyway.
The pizzas however I couldn’t fault. They were so good, and I really didn’t have room to try the tuna steak but it was served rare and looked incredible if you’re after something a bit lighter. When I went back the second time I ordered the prosciutto and olive pizza and it was just as delicious second time round, the girls polished theirs off too.
On both nights we were way too stuffed to even contemplate desert, opting instead for desert cocktails. Definitely the way to go, largely due to the third and final ingredient at the Laundrette…
Atmosphere at The Laundrette
The manager told us that the original concept for the Laundrette was created from the owners love of good food and good music, which is why the bar has a DJ playing throughout the night, getting progressively louder I might add as well! It was definitely more than just your average restaurant, and the bar was popular with people coming in for just a drink.
The Thursday night was a great atmosphere, it wasn’t packed full of students despite being under uni accommodation, and there were a lot of after work drinks without being too professional. The Friday night was a bit more civilised, with mainly diners, but it did pick up at the bar by about 9pm.
The staff and service were really good, right from the bouncer outside to the bar staff and waiters. They could easily give cocktail recommendations based on your tastes, and everyone was efficient and friendly.
The entire length of the front is glass windows, with a view out over Newcastle, the station, so it’s in prime spot among the bars of Collingwood Street and near Central. Despite what I said about being full of after work drink goers, it still gives off a more sophisticated atmosphere, and one that will keep people in a lot longer than just a quick one after work.
The outside terrace is set to be transformed by next summer too, with outdoor seating and canopies in case of bad weather. When all of that’s finished I can really see it taking off, there’s not many spots along there with good outdoor areas. For through the winter though, put the Laundrette on your list for really good carb laden scran, washed down with a well made cocktail or two (for joy).
The Laundrette are offering 50% off your food bill to celebrate it’s opening, for tables booked online Sunday – Thursday. Also take a look at their Facebook page for the gin competition running on there. The winner will win a trip to the Portobello Road Gin Distillery to make your own gin.
Dislaimer: As mentioned earlier, the Laundrette provided complimentary food and cocktails for the blogger event last Thursday, but I paid full price on my second visit the following night. All opinions are as honest as always.