Monday, 8 March 2010

The Modern Pantry

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


  1. I ate there recently, and the portion sizes were on the small side (to say the least), though everything was pretty tasty..(although my side dish of roasted chestnuts comprised mostly mouldy, bitter ones). Prices were a bit scary too.

  2. He calls it "Culinary Rohypnol" - oh dear!