A night out in Busselton meant one thing, I was finally going to experience dinner at Laundry 43. This place had been on my list for quite some time and over the years it had been open I had only heard good things, I just never managed to get there. So, you could say I was pretty excited to have the opportunity to see if it was as good as the hype. Laundry 43 is located in Prince St (number 43) in Busselton and this unassuming building was originally the iconic Busselton Dry-Cleaners, hence the name. Inside, you are transported to a bar and restaurant that exudes a modern and trendy but also quirky and cosy vibe. The venue is dotted with memories of its dry-cleaning past, clothes hanging from the exposed ceiling, the red brick wall and posters reminding you of its history.
The culinary team is lead by head chef Nathan Thomas, who by the way, has worked in Michelin star restaurants, and it’s darn exciting that a chef of his calibre is doing his thing just down the road, focusing on locally sourced, seasonal produce. Why oh why had I waited so long to dine here! Looking over the menu it all sounded delicious and instead of filling up on the appetisers we decided to go straight to entrees and mains. Plates here are designed to share (my favourite way of eating) and the menu changes regularly. After much discussion we finally decided on our food and wine but honestly, I could have ordered everything on the menu. They do also offer degustation options which is a great way to go to try more dishes and remove the decision making.
Our first plate to arrive was the duck liver parfait with onion jam, crisp toasted sourdough and pickles. Beautiful presentation and toast so thin and buttery it melted in your mouth. The parfait was heaven, rich, creamy and full of flavour and the pickles were the perfect way to add some freshness and acidity to the dish. While I loved the toasts it became a little rich with all the butter and I kind of wanted something a little more substantial for my parfait to rest on. Bit torn really because they were so good, they just fell apart easily being so thin.
Next up was the Margaret River wagyu carpaccio, truffle mayonnaise, crisp potato, green beans and macadamia. This dish was a taste sensation, every mouthful was divine and the flavours danced on my taste buds. The wagyu was impeccable and the mayonnaise had the right amount of truffle to give it that earthiness. Add in crunchy potatoes, green beans and macadamia that had been transformed into snow and this is a dish worth celebrating. Delicate, salty, earthy, fresh and creamy, just WOW.
Still in awe over what we had just devoured I was curious and excited for our last dish, caramelised free range pork belly, green papaya, pineapple, nam jim, kaffir lime compressed apple, cashews and coconut rice. Obviously I have to keep proving my love for parfait and pork belly, think you’re all getting the idea. Another stunning looking dish landed in front of us and after some photo taking (which I like to keep as short as possible) it was time to dive in. So many carefully prepared elements and flavours that sat in perfect harmony. I always try to get a mouthful of everything with these dishes and oh my goodness, YUM! The pork was to die for, so tender with a mouthwatering sauce I could have drunk from the jug. Yummy fried shallots, freshness and a bit of sweetness from the apple, green papaya and pineapple that was zingy, sweet and sour and a fabulous coconut rice. And lets not forget that big bit of crispy crackling, crunchy and slightly sticky from a drizzle of the nam jim. I’ve eaten a few pork belly dishes and this was an absolute stand out. It had everything.
Taste buds in overdrive but still room for dessert and after our previous dishes I couldn’t wait to see what sweets would bring so we just ‘had’ to order two. The first dessert I started on was the 70% valrhona chocolate cremeux, cookie crumbs, caramelia, chocolate madeleines and basil ice cream. Perfect dessert for sharing as there was two of almost everything, incredibly arranged on a board. On first reading the description I thought this might be a sweet chocolate overload but I was happily surprised. The combination of elements was spot on. The madeleines were fudgey and rich, the cremeux slightly bitter but creamy and chocolatey and the basil ice cream added a savoury element which was out of this world. An absolutely delightful, well balanced dessert that kept me going back for more.
Last dish and it was my turn with the yuzu cheesecake with matcha, stem ginger and blood orange. This was a lovely light and citrusy way to end the meal. The sorbet and ice-cream were great additions, the cheesecake had textbook texture and great flavour. Not a huge amount of matcha coming through but delicious all the same. The amount of citrus actually got a little bit much for me towards the end but I think this could have been due to all the food I’d just eaten. This dish and every dish was executed superbly.
Well, Laundry 43 certainly met and exceeded all my expectations. It’s definitely right up there with one of the best meals I’ve had. Every dish was exciting, playful and creative, very well thought out cooking. Everything had its place and played its part on the plate. I did feel that the staff member looking after us could have known more about the dishes, it felt a little awkward at times, but she was probably new and hey, we’ve all been there and it didn’t detract from the overall experience. This place is perfect for date night, romantic vibe, great lighting and food that will ignite a conversation all on its own. It might have taken me a while to get there but I can not wait to get back.