First Street has slowly created a reputation as one of the most happening places Manchester, particularly if you’re a fan of good food, craft beer and indie films. Think Spinningfields without the pretentiousness or the Northern Quarter with a modern facelift. It ticks all the right boxes for the city’s growing population of young professionals.
As development in the area continues, including more residential apartments, traditional virtues are still at the top of people’s priorities. This is nowhere more apparent than the growing list of suburban independents that have set up shop on the street, with popular Chorlton eatery The Laundrette being the latest to mix things up.
The Laundrette concept has grown a bit since its beginnings in the leafy suburb of Chorlton.
Despite being located just off the main strip where most of the footfall resides, the restaurant was busy without feeling rammed. No expense has been spared with a heated terrace and fixings of brushed concrete, leather booths and pivoting iron seats. It’s bright and airy with a high floor to ceiling glass and back bar. And with subtle nods towards a traditional laundrette, it’s the perfect combo of sexy and cute.
On entering we were treated to a warm reception and chilled house music. The menu is very varied and is split up into quirky sections such as PRE-WASH, EASY CARE and FULL LOAD and features a mixture of brunch, gluten-free pizzas, burgers, salads and seafood dishes.
But you can’t make a decision on the carbs without sampling the cocktails first. Try a Wafflin’ On Old Fashioned which is a delicate mix of Buffalo Trace Bourbon whiskey, orange zest, maple syrup & piece of toasted waffle.
Or if you fancy something a little easier to drink (and/or non-alcoholic) try the Yummy Mummy Mojito which is a fast spin of fresh strawberries, lychee syrup, mint & apple juice. The alcoholic version is called an Absolut Milf which gets naughtier with the help of vodka. Or, if you fancy sharing a cocktail, try the infamous Bubble Bath which is a 20cm long bath shaped container of Portobello Road gin, violet liqueur, lemon and apple juice, finished with popping candy and maraschino liqueur foam. Oh, and you get to take your bath home!
We shared a ‘small load’ of hummus which came on a carved wooden palate accompanied by a generous helping of flatbread. Its warm, soft texture lent itself perfectly to the thick hummus, while the lemon added a nice little kick to proceedings.
Cajun spiced popcorn shrimp (£6.50) was moorish and mildly spiced. The crispy coated batter wasn’t too greasy, while the cajun spices gave them a nice kick. The chilli mayo added another dimension of taste, but be warned that the combination of spices gradually do their work despite not having a heat warning symbol on the menu.
We all needs carbs! They’re essential for energy – especially for busy young professionals. Look in the pizza column and try a pesto chicken, tomato, fresh garlic, parmesan (£9.50) or ask for the specials menu where you’ll find surprises like the calzone pizza topped with a runny egg.
The #SayCheeseburger (£14) can be found on the special menu and provides diners with the chance of winning a meal for two at the restaurant, as well as a night’s stay at the Innside hotel located next to HOME. It comes with a cheeky little polaroid picture – taken by staff when ordering – pegged to the top of burger like a flag on top of Mount Everest.
The burger consists of an 8oz beef patty, truffle mayo, cheese, lettuce and tomato on a sticky-sweet brioche bun and topped with three crispy onion rings. There were also truffle and parmesan fried on the side.
Although not the biggest burger in the world, it was still filling thanks to its rich and succulent filling, but if you’re not a fan of truffles I’d suggest something else.
My companion opted for the slow cooked lamb shoulder (£15) on the suggestion of our server. He earned his tip. The lamb was soft and easy to chew, while the garlic polenta in place of the mash was a welcome addition. It was both flavoursome and healthy, and the flavours combined well with the cabbage and rosemary sauce.
Don’t leave without trying a Twisted Tiramisu (£9) even if you can’t fit in a dessert or you don’t like coffee. It’s a twist on the classic Espresso Martini with Patron Cafe XO, dark chocolate mozart, espresso and mascarpone. It comes accompanied by a mini scoop of ice cream.
13 Jack Rosenthal Street, First Street, Manchester, M15 4FN