The Modern Pantry – food fusion

After recently dining at The Providores I was keen to try The Modern Pantry where Peter Gordons former protégée Anna Hanson produces some very interesting food.

The Modern Pantry is located in St Johns Square, right next door to the delightfully cosy Zetter Townhouse which was ideal for our post lunch cocktails.

We entered The Modern Pantry via the side door, through the informal cafe and were escorted upstairs to the modern quirky dining rooms, with their designer lampshades  and wooden floors which in conjunction with our wobbly table introduced a strange bouncy effect when any one walked by.

As expected the food was imaginative, combining unexpected ingredients to enhance the flavours.

There is a separate charge of £2.60 for the bread, but that makes sense as the bread here is not the boring options provided by most restaurants. The aniseed bread in particular was a real winner.

I started with the the New Caledonian prawn omelette with green chilli,  spring onion and smoked chilli sambal, the combination of the sweet prawns and chilli was stunning, making it the best tasting and interesting omelette I have ever had, a dish that if I made a return visit I would struggle not to order again.

My companion ordered the king scallops with Jerusalem artichoke mash, a tasty dish that was unfortunately spoilt by some grit in the scallops.

For main course I had the lamb rump with curry leaf besam chips and curly kale. The chips were great, less so the curly kale which rather dominated the plate. This dish though was served with a quite lovely 1999 Urbina Rioja.

My companion had the roast cod with chorizo and squid ink mash, a terrific dish that successfully combined some very strong flavours without overpowering the cod.

We finished with the pumpkin and gingernut cheese cake with mulled wine sorbet and the eggnog bread and butter pudding, both rather festive choices.

All in all despite a couple of flaws, this is fusion food that really works. We had a very enjoyable meal in a venue I would be happy to return too.

With the Modern Pantry and Bruno Loubets at the Zetter, St Johns Square, Clerkenwell is a developing into quite a foodie enclave, which can only be a good thing.

Return to top page

Bistro Bruno Loubet @ The Zetter

Bruno Loubet’s restaurant at The Zetter has had some excellent reviews. Indeed it was voted 3rd Best Restaurant in the UK at the National Restaurant Awards, just behind The Ledbury and The Fat Duck.  That seemed a bit odd to me I have to admit, as this is a very different type of restaurant to the fine dining establishments I have just mentioned.  Bistro Bruno Loubets is a “proper” bistro that serves good homely french food. It’s not fine dining, nor is it trying to be.

We visited on a Monday lunch time and were on the whole surrounded by affluent dinners enjoying business lunches.   The tables are very close together, so you can not help but overhear conversations. I picked up a least one investment tip 😉

The staff are friendly and efficient, you could probably even manage a one hour turn around if you needed to here.

For starters I had a snails, meatballs and mushroom dish, a bit wintry for the lovely spring weather, but very tasty all the same. My companion had the Beetroot ravioli, which was lighter and more suited to the climate, it was accompanied by a fresh rocket salad. For main course he ordered the braised oxtail stuffed with cabbage and I had roast rabbit crumbed with almond and “forgotten” winter vegetables, that included atomic red carrots and some type of root vegetable I did not recognise.

We moved on to dessert, I had a very light Tarte Tatin with cinnamon ice cream and my companion ordered the white chocolate and passion fruit mousse with raspberry sauce. We accompanied this with a small and reasonably priced bottle of Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure 2007.

We then went on to explore the surrounding area.  In the same square you have The Modern Pantry which  looked inviting and the rather interesting building opposite is the Priory Church of St John which is part of the Museum of the order of St Johns.  The Zetter has also expanded into the square with its sister venue The Zetter Town House. which has a small rather quirky cocktail bar.


Return to top page

What’s coming next ?

Having lunch at Dinner – Heston Blumenthals historically themed and much talked about venture at The Mandarin Oriental.

Planning trips to :-

and maybe, as we head into Spring, visit some Seaside Restaurants  around the Kent and Suffolk coasts.