• Food
  • Lavanderia Vecchia: Italian laundrette


Lavanderia Vecchia: Italian laundrette

"Don't be late, and don't ask questions -- would you tell the tenor what to sing?" Konrad Werner introduces us to Neukölln's Italian masterpiece.

Image for Lavanderia Vecchia: Italian laundrette
Photo by Lucía Zapata

Set aside a whole evening for this one: it’s an experience of unique indulgence hidden away in a courtyard off an unpromising road deep in Neukölln. The cuisine comes from the Sabina region of Italy; the setting is a former laundrette.

A lot of the plumbing and some of the washing machines have been left in. These, along with the white-washed walls, tea towels, clothes lines and old children’s toys, combine to create a kind of rustic pantry somewhere in the Campagna… the sort of place you might wish you’d spent your childhood. It’s disconcerting at first – with food and wine this good, you don’t expect such a homely, non-intimidating atmosphere.

As for the meal, it’s basically an opera of food: not so much a dinner as a performance. There is a set start time (7:30pm) and a set menu (€39). Don’t be late, and don’t ask questions – would you tell the tenor what to sing?

Anyway, it doesn’t matter what you want, because you get literally everything on the menu: you start off with a taste of all 10 (10!) starters, ranging from lenticchie con pancetta to carpaccio di bresaola. Then, in climactic procession, the three main acts unfold: primo, secondo, and dolce – a pasta course, a meat course and a dessert – all amazing. And yes, all for €39, including wine, water, espresso and grappa.

There is also an €8 matinee menu, which starts at noon.