Wringer and Mangle is one of those venues you just walk in and know you are in East London. It just wouldn’t work in Central London or at least the rent will be outrageously expensive considering how cavernous the whole restaurant and bar is. This is the latest brainchild of Gerry Calabrese who owns Hoxton Pony and Hoxton Gin and son of world-famous bartender, Salvatore Calabrese.
Housed in a vast former laundry building, it has capacity for 250 covers including a bar, restaurant and outdoor terrace. What particularly stands out are the tall ceilings; if it was in Central London, you know it would have been divided into 2 separate floors already. The giant outdoor terrace cushioned seating area is perfect for drinks with large groups of friends on a warm summer’s day. Inside the central bar area is seamlessly linked with the restaurant at the back. The mostly industrial chic is in keeping with the former commercial use of this building alongside modern artwork from local residents. You have to admire the cheeky nature of the venue with the toilet sign substituted for “Laundry: this is where you take your pants off”.
You wouldn’t expect a Calabrese to be not in tune with the trends of 2016, here it’s the single focus on one particular cocktail, the classic collins cocktail. You don’t need to worry about a lack of choice though, there are more than 30 variations to choose from using homemade sodas, infused spirits and fruity homemade concoctions.
The food is simple British food using fresh, locally sourced ingredients where possible. The pear, walnut, cashel blue and chicory salad had a great mixture of flavours and tasted fresh and appetising. Chicken liver parfait had the rich, intense flavours you would expect from such a dish, although the texture bordered on the overly firm side. The steak tartare was moist, beefy and had the right amount of kick from Worcestershire sauce and mustard.
The grill dishes from the main course were all about sourcing high quality ingredients, not overcooking them and letting the dishes express themselves with simplicity. Not being a fan of fish on the bone, I was worried about the Dover sole, but the fillet separated from the bone readily and the brown butter flavoured the fish supremely well. Although charging £25 is on the high side even if you get a whole Dover sole. The ribeye and spatchcock which the other guests had were considerably cheaper.
The only real disappointment were the desserts, which is a shame considering their chef is Italian and take great pride in dishes like tiramisu. The tiramisu was far too foamy and lacked the consistency of a cake. The lemon custard was too bitter tasting rather than sweet tasting. I would save more space for cocktails, starters and main courses.
This is one of those funky bar, restaurants off the main road where you feel only local Hackney residents in the know will hang out. Don’t let this just be a secret gem for the locals, head over to Wringer and Mangle today.