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.

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From Pod to Providores dinner

Chocolate week is now an annual event that I like to make the most of. This year we managed to get a booking for a special dinner at The Providores where for Chocolate Week 2011, Peter Gordon (often called Europe’s father of fusion cuisine) and innovative chocolatier Paul A Young collaborated to create a 6 course menu with chocolate incorporated into each course. Peter and Paul hosted the evening introducing the dishes and entertained us all with food and non food related stories, indeed as the evening progressed and everyone relaxed they evolved into a rather effective double act.

It was a very sociable evening with Paul and Peter working their way around the tables to talk to their guests. The food was stunning with dishes that included Roast duck, prune sauce, wild mushrooms, porcini powder and broad beans with Honduras Indio Rojo, and Smoked eel, sautéed salsify, toasted sourdough crumbs and date chipotle chilli puree with Mangaro chocolate. The smoked eel in particular was a real winner and was matched with a smooth 2007 Richardson Pinot Noir.  Then just when I thought it could not get any better, that dish was eclipsed by the surprising light beef cheeks with roast carmelised quince and smoked chickpea panizza.  The matching New Zealand wines were top notch.  As was the Quinta do Noval Port from Douro that accompanied the Tart of malted Virunga chocolate and sea salted caramel, buffalo ice cream and sesame praline.

This was my first visit to The Providores and it will most definitely not be my last.

Marks out of 10

Food 7.8

Service 7

Ambience 7.8



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