Coin Laundry, Exmouth Market
If countless movies and TV shows are anything to go by, laundrettes are a great place to find romance. Remember the one in FRIENDS where Ross teaches Rachel how to do laundry and a red sock dyes all her whites pink? Fitting then, that this warm and fuzzy heritage inspired Exmouth Market’s latest date venue.
While there’s no soap powder or tumble dryers to be seen, this bar-eatery is an explosion of retro memorabilia that will tickle the nostalgic. A roomy, low lit upper floor of small diner tables and pinball machines gives way to a basement of snug corners and board games. The soundtrack? 70s and 80s classics, of course.
First we saw the elevation of the humble burger to god-like status, then a tidal wave of hot dogs, fish finger sandwiches and pimped fried chicken. Coin Laundry’s speciality joins this revival trend with panache: a revamped chicken kiev. From the crisp, free-range chicken oozes a garlicky explosion, sourced from Hackney Marshes for added bonus. The menu comprises more upgrades of kitsch classics: tangy prawn cocktail, rabbit balti pie, smoked haddock rarebit and sardines on toast. Your nan’s cooking, but better.
Cocktails shrug off pretentious infusions and hat tip bygone icons – try the Snowball (Advocaat and lemonade) or Grasshopper (Liquor, mint, chocolate, cream). There’s a thoughtful selection of Vermouths and Digestifs and – joy of all joys – a Soda Stream.
This joint ticks boxes for laid back drinks, very good snacks and bonding over Kerplunk. Get to know your date as you swap throwback memories – which boyband/girl crush adorned your wall? Confidently order the 70’s Porn Star (Vodka, mango, lemon, passion fruit and Babycham) to gauge your date’s prudishness / get their imagination flowing – delete as required. The 2am closing time provides ample opportunities to make your move.
Alternatively, head to Coin Laundry on the weekend for a hangover-quashing brunch of potato waffle, fried egg and sausage or buttered crumpets with jam. Exercise can wait.
Be careful that your chicken kiev doesn’t shoot its garlicky innards straight into your top.
Sex Factor: 2