Inspired by the cupboard/room where the necessities of life are stored, The Modern Pantry is probably underselling itself a bit. Unless you’re unfashionably rich, the average Londoner’s abode amounts to a bedroom so small a battery chicken would complain and a shared kitchen/living room/bathroom – sometimes all combined into one! As a result, the modern pantry is in fact a tiny cupboard where one squeezes in a couple of cans of baked beans, a box of cereal and jar of coffee. Not ideal cooking ingredients. Fortunately for diners at this restaurant, their pantry is somewhat larger and comes loaded with some mightily delicious ingredients.
The Modern Pantry is housed in two handsome Georgian buildings in ever so laid-back Saint John’s Square. Dining options include grabbing a quick bite from the delicatessen area or having a proper meal in the café or upstairs dining room. They also have an al fresco option during the summer months.
The daily changing menu takes it’s inspiration from the global tastes of the modern Londoner, with a big emphasis on fresh ingredients. Atkins-dieters look away now, because their mixed plate of freshly baked bread was some of the best in London, with the seeded foccacia and the soda bread really standing out. £2.50 really well spent then. Starters were an outstanding Asian inspired Sugar cured prawn omelette with smoked chilli sambal and nice but overly-intricate Ham hock salad with mangoes, chilli, peanuts and a plum wine & coriander sauce.
For mains, I went for a superbly cooked and hearty Roast cod smothered in a spiced sauce of chorizo, clams & tomatoes served with fenugreek roast potatoes. Really enjoyable, but far too many ingredients to really get the best out of the dish. Similarly, the Roast duck was a stunning piece of meat somewhat overwhelmed by the combination of black beans, red pepper, nectarine and a sweet tamarind miso dressing. Our shared dessert was an intriguing and admittedly successful Brulee bread & butter pudding. Yes your read that right – a crème brulee merged with a bread and butter pudding, which was crispy topped, stodgy underneath and creamy throughout. Seriously yum.
So a solid performer which should more than satisfy those after some honest, laid back food with hearty portions. As a nice touch, the menu also provides some very good wine pairings for many of the dishes; not something you’d expect for somewhere so modest, but great attention to detail.
Cuisine type: International
Dinner for 2 (excluding drinks): £55
The Modern Pantry
48 St. John’s Sq
London, EC1V 4JJ