Have you ever felt immobilized by your craving for a glass of wine? Or a cup of good coffee? But you feel like you couldn’t possibly, because you have so much laundry to do? And, because of the nature of your highly demanding laundry schedule, don’t have time to enjoy the finer things in life, like some art? And are you so distracted by this combination of desires due to a subtle craving for some Dim Sum? No? Never? Neither had I, until I became aware of the existence of “I Love My Laundry”.
“I Love My Laundry” is a Laundromat, coffee shop, Dim Sum restaurant, art gallery and a wine-tasting hub in Cape Town. It is situated on Bree Street and is open from Monday to Sunday from 7am to 7pm. The one I have experienced (… for now) is the one situated on Bree Street and what I say hereafter is referring specifically to my experience at this branch.
The primary function of the venue is a Laundromat. You take your laundry to them and they get going with what they are masters of: Laundry, Dry Cleaning, Dying and Alterations and Ironing.
They are fast, efficient, and have managed, every time, to provide me with a batch of clean washing that is not stained pink from a stray red sock.
If I were to name one thing that I enjoy more than not having to do my own laundry it would be enjoying a glass of wine at the end of the day. On Wednesdays (my new favourite day), the wine is free between 6pm and 7pm. On every other night, you get a free glass of wine, or a soft drink, with your meal (my next favourite part).
For just R40, you get presented with a delicious plate of Dim Sum – 8, to be exact. The day you go dictates the type of Dim Sum on offer and you can mix and match the flavours as you wish. The flavours I’ve tried so far have been: Pork and Cabbage, Pork, Chicken and Ginger, Tofu and Vegetable Chilli. My personal favourite is definitely the Chicken and Ginger (but don’t let this stop you ordering the others!)
During the day, the place might be mistaken for one of the many quirky, exciting and affordable coffee shops that make Cape Town the trendy city it is.
It is the home of delicious coffee and a great venue to sit down and enjoy a moment in caffeinated euphoria. Whether you are enjoying the cuppa while you wait for your laundry (or Dim Sum… or for it to reach an acceptable hour to start drinking wine), or catching up with friends, or even sitting reclusively with your laptop making use of the free Wifi, you are bound to find this spot leagues ahead of its contemporaries.
If all of this variety wasn’t enough to pique your interest, then you might be tempted by the appeal of viewing some art. The venue displays a variety of art work and is an opportunity for you to appreciate some of the local talent Cape Town continuously produces.
The most important feature that factors into my choice of restaurant is whether or not I am welcomed with friendly and efficient service.
Part of the charisma of the place is its laidback, “we just landed from dim sum heaven” feel that permeates through its walls.
The restaurant is not a commercial hub therefore it would be a lie to say they were fast, efficient and attentive. They were friendly and excited to be hosting guests, but there lacked a certain watron-customer relationship. You are not a customer in their restaurant, but rather a guest in their living room. They welcome you with big smiles and you sit, with all the other guests as well as the people working on duty that evening, at a long table decorated with second hand books and interesting objects that I imagine I might find in my grandmother’s attic.
They say you should: “Never trust a skinny chef”. This is not 100% relevant as I didn’t get to meet the kitchen staff. However, it applies to the fact that the people working at the restaurant were sitting, alongside their guests, enjoying wine and Dim Sum as well. If it’s good enough to eat yourself – it’s good enough to serve. Finally, while you are balancing your bill and getting ready to leave, you might want to try some of the fudge they sell.
Basically, from the moment you enter “I Love My Laundry” until the moment you roll out, full belly, tingling head, clean laundry and fudge in tow, you feel entirely satisfied by the time and money you have lost in the process. In fact, “loss” is not the word I would use – visiting “I Love My Laundry” is money and time well spent.