The Modern Pantry is a rather nice Clerkenwell restaurant where everything is white or a darker shade thereof. It is run by Anna Hansen, who is famous in cheffy type circles for being one of the names behind The Providores. The other was Peter Gordon who is now running Kopapa which is very much overrated and not all that delicious. The Modern Pantry is a lot more delicious. Take note Mr Gordon.
The Modern Pantry’s menu is all New Zealand-esque. I’ve come to realise that New Zealand-esque food mainly involves cooking a whole lot of different things that probably don’t originate from New Zealand but seen as it’s quite far away and obscure the powers that be can get away with claiming that they do.
Here’s an example: Yuzu. That is not from New Zealand. I believe it is some sort of small oriental fruit. Yet it on the Modern Pantry’s New Zealand-esque menu. Anna Hansen lies to us.
Anyway enough about whether or not this place is New Zealandy enough. I will now tell you about the eating. The place seems to be full a lot, so it is safe to assume that it’s good. And it is. The kind souls also do a two courses for £20 deal which is quite generous. They have some wine also, which is nice.
To start I had rabbit & pickled gooseberry terrine with sourdough (fairly reasonable ingredients), however my companions opted for the dishes which included such make believe ingredients as ‘ajowan seed’ and ‘Childwickberry’. This was good as it gave us a fantastic opportunity to quiz our waitress about the pretend foodstuffs. She passed all the tests, she even described the taste of each imaginary sustenance. Marvellous.
Each dish was absolutely wonderful and delicious despite being filled with fairy dust and the fruit of the poka poka tree. Childwickberry is a cheese, and a quite scrumptious one too. It is creamy like goat cheese but without that unpleasant taste of farmyard. I recommend it for your sandwiches.
Then came main courses. We had panko crusted pork belly which came with master stock (very important stock), pan fried haddock with pickled Asian mushrooms (very thin, long mushrooms like mushroom supermodels) and poussin stuffed with mustard, tarragon and creme fraiche (very small bird full of lots of things). The stand out dish was the haddock, with a crispy crunchy coating of loveliness. Poussin was also quite fantastic and expertly cooked. Tasted and looked much like a tiny roast chicken for borrowers. Pork belly was alright but not particularly wow… a little overshadowed.
Then there was coffee. As I am cultured and know about New Zealand I ordered a flat white. This was a fine flat white, obviously. It had a heart in the top too, because the Modern Pantry loves me, I presume. We also had truffles, because all meals should end in chocolate no matter how full you are, and one chocolate torte which was full of melt in mouth chocolatey creamy goodness. I liked it, you see.
Gluten Free? Yes – plenty of options and the staff are as knowledgable as they come.
Excellent food, nice restaurant, waiters know all about the pretend ingredients. Very good coffee. Good all round actually. Will be back. Absolutely. Fabulous.