Having just finished the Cancer Research UK London Winter run, which we ran in honour of my Grandma who passed away from cancer and whose birthday it was on that day, the family was in desperate need of warmth, shelter and, most importantly, food.
Having heard many a good thing about The Modern Pantry, I reserved us a table for four a couple of weeks in advance.
It was reward enough to get out of our soaking wet clothes and socks and into dry jumpers in the restaurant’s toilets, but a real treat to then be served such a delicious spread.
I must admit that I was surprised by just how big The Modern Pantry is, which sprawls over all 3 floors of its elegant Grade II listed town house. The ground floor supposedly serves as the ‘Café’, and had a more chilled & nattery vibe compared with the 2nd floor ‘North & South Dining Rooms’ at 11am on a Saturday, which cater for a more formal dining affair.
The light-filled dining rooms with their whitewashed furniture are a pleasant & uplifting space to while away a few hours in, though I do think that the tabletops could do with some attention as they looked a little cheap.
On the 3rd floor you can find the ‘Foundry Room’, which serves as a beautiful private dining room for up to 12 guests. It offers a permanent exhibition of Kate Boxer’s works and features both a stunning vintage rosewood sideboard and custom-made rosewood dining table. I really liked the dark & stylish décor and think that it would be a good spot for a special dinner.
As for us, we took our pews in the South Dining Room and enjoyed the views overlooking historic St John’s Square.
With a cheeky toast to G-ma chilling somewhere high in the sky being as sarcastic as ever, we focused on getting our caffeine fix, hence four cappuccinos (£2.80 each) were the first order of the day.
The menu at The Modern Pantry is pretty eclectic incorporating ingredients & dishes that only a seasoned foodie would appreciate, but at least this delivers on its philosophy “to please and excite the palate by fusing everyday cooking with modern ingredients”. My stepdad was a little bewildered by mention of cassava & Urfa hash brown, Rendang mince on toast, coconut & black sesame labneh and gooseberry relish, but we got there in the end.
Obviously he had a fry-up. Otherwise phrased as two fried, scrambled or poached eggs & toast with smoked streaky bacon, slow-roast tomatoes and buttered mushrooms (£8.80).
His eggs were slightly more ‘overdone’ than ‘over-easy’, but the rest of his dish was well-executed and the man was so ravenous after being made to stand like a saddled donkey with all our stuff in the freezing rain that I don’t think he’d have noticed if his entire plate had been burnt.
Mum went for eggs Florentine, or wilted spinach, two poached eggs, English muffin, yuzu hollandaise, hazelnut & macadamia dukkah (£9.80)
Her muffins were perfectly toasted and her eggs #yolkporn worthy. It was all-round a great dish with the addition of the crumbled nuts adding some texture, although the yuzu in the hollandaise was not perceptible enough to deserve mention.
Michael had the same but with salmon, otherwise generally referred to as eggs Royale, although The Modern Pantry’s version is slightly different to the norm with an offering of tea smoked salmon, two poached eggs, English muffin, yuzu hollandaise, hazelnut & macadamia dukkah (£9.80).
He (and I on being questioned) had assumed that the salmon would come in its usual raw smoked state, vs. arriving as a rather large piece of overcooked fillet. It worked, but wasn’t quite what he had had in mind, and should probably be clarified on the menu.
For once, I didn’t go for my usual order of eggs Royale (which, as it turned out, I was pretty pleased about), instead choosing the honey roast oats, seeds & nuts, grated apple, pomegranate and yoghurt (£6.00).
It was really super delicious, bar the slight yoghurt overload; the balance of flavours was on point with tartness & sweetness both encompassed, and a yummy freshness delivered by the apple and pomegranate that made me feel like a little health goddess.
Overall, we really enjoyed our brunch at The Modern Pantry. The dishes could do with some fine-tuning but I really like their general ethos and ready creativity with food. It’s a light & airy place, perfect for a catch-up with friends over a decent meal.
^ Plus, I love their loos.