I was so excited at the thought of brunch at The Modern Pantry, I practically skipped up the road from Farringdon station in the winter sunshine. Things were looking mighty impressive - having checked out their interesting brunch menu online (think breakfast dishes with an Aussie twist), I was salivating at the thought of a hearty feed. My friend C had been recommended this place by her brunch-obsessed friend, and I was hoping for whopping portions of loveliness. Which, sadly, isn't exactly what happened.
This being a Sunday, and feeling a bit weary, I ordered a Japanese Bloody Mary which was made with sake instead of vodka and had wasabi paste instead of freshly grated horseradish. It was delicious. So I ordered another. It seemed that this time around, I was being punished by the gods above for being greedy - this second drink was so over-salted and pungent with the taste of soy sauce that it was undrinkable. I passed it round the table - nobody could drink it. I sent it back and requested a cappuccino instead.
I was thrown off balance here, and failed to remember to take any photos of the food I ate - sorry about that!
For my brunch, I ordered 2 poached eggs and toast with halloumi cheese, spinach and roast tomatoes. It looked pretty on the plate, but was ungenerous. Two small bullet-hard poached eggs sat atop two minute pieces of rustic buttered toast, next to two tiny slices of halloumi, a mound of bland steamed bok choy and two small oven-roasted tomato halves. I was a bit shocked - I had deliberately eaten a smallish early breakfast to leave room for a brunch of supreme indulgence, and instead got a very modest plate of not very special food. I mean, it was perfectly edible, but so pretty are the surroundings of The Modern Pantry - all trendy greys, whites and mismatched retro crockery - I was expecting the food to be a bit special too. It was just all a bit 'blah'.
Only a scoop of rice pudding ice cream lightened my mood a little, but it didn't make me go 'wow'. Other people at the table fared a little better with their menu choices, especially the delicious caramel 'hokey pokey' ice cream, but I don't think that for £23 I will be returning. A shame - I really wonder if this was an off day, and not the usual standard of fare. I hate leaving feeling as though I need to have a snack on the home journey! I have a couple of suggestions, though - how about a basket of bread on the table, instead of two measly small slices on the plate? And what about two scoops of ice cream per serving, instead of one ball? Just a thought...
Oh dear - read the ramblings of AA Gill on the subject...
The Modern Pantry
47-48 St John’s Square
Tel: 020 7553 9210