Set in the designer district of Clerkenwell, just a stone's throw from Exmouth Market, The Modern Pantry is a powerhouse of flavour fusions and style. Their ethos is simple - "to please and excite the palate by fusing everyday cooking with modern ingredients". The Modern Pantry's creator, Anna Hansen, originally from New Zealand has created an eclectic, but clean and fresh fusion with influences from neighbouring Asia, but also hints of the Middle East and Europe. She has produced a global taste.
So on a fine summer's day it was finally time to treat myself to lunch at The Modern Pantry.
The ground floor restaurant is small but light and airy with long windowside tables and white interiors. The room was filled with a friendly atmosphere, fresh breeze and the ting of the open kitchen's service bell.
Flicking through the drinks menu I noted a wonderful mix of cocktails and wines. Looking for something fresh and light on such a hot summer's day we ordered a jasmine, mint and peach iced tea and a fresh lemonade. The tea really did have the soft aroma of jasmine and mint to compliment the sweet peaches.
The menu is comprised of well balanced and intriguing dishes making it next to impossible to decide. So, we opted for the set lunch menu to make the ordering decisions a little easier for ourselves.
To start we shared the Buffalo mozzarella with lemon roast fennel, roast peaches and landcress salad with a lemon verbena and elderflower dressing and walnut lavosh. The dressing was sweet and summery to match the luscious, juicy peaches. The creamy, cold mozzarella wrapped everything together, whilst the warmth and crunch of the walnut cracker with speckles of spices, like cumin and fennel gave our pallets a final surprise. The salad was a perfectly balanced and fulfilling fusion of European and Middle Eastern summer.
Next cam the raz al hanout yoghurt marinated lamb chops with grilled aubergine puree, lemon, coriander and cauliflower cous cous, and a beetroot and sour cherry relish. The lamb had a barbecued, charcoal depth and bite on the outside covering the sweet, succulent pink meat within. The flavour of the bone and fat left the dish moist with a touch of richness. The relish was sweet, sour and juicy atop the bed of light and refreshing cauliflower cous cous. Finally the puree was a smokey and dark contrast. Again I thought the dish was faultless and inspiring.
And for dessert the turmeric meringue pavlova, pineapple, kalamani lime cream, passionfruit and Aleppo chilli roast macademia nuts. The turmeric gave the inside of the meringue a gorgeous lemon yellow colour and warmth of spice just very gently throughout the background of the dish. The flecks of pineapple mixed with the tart passionfruit and lime making the dish perfectly sweet and indulgent, yet refreshing and light. The nuts not only added another layer of crisp texture, but were both candied and salted providing another hit of contrasting flavour.
Our set lunch was incredibly reasonable and rather than restricting us to some simple, dull dishes it introduced us to their intriguing flavour and style. I will certainly be back and some time very soon I hope.
Inspired by the sharp, distinctive and innovative style we hopped next door to the Pantry shop and straightaway purchased a copy of their recipe book. I think I've found my new London favourite!
I am an amateur cook blogging about the food I eat and cook, and my travels along the way.