I think I’ve said it before, but Brunch is swiftly becoming my favourite meal of the day. A few friends and I have checked out another few of London’s Kiwi brunch spots – Kopapa (which I’ve found out recently means “Meeting Place”), the Providores and Caravan (Kings Cross) all run by Kiwi chefs with a passion for good food and great atmosphere.
The Modern Pantry was no exception.
Found in fashionable Clerkenwell, the Modern Pantry is housed in two Georgian buildings, the larger of the two buildings was originally part of an adjacent steel foundry, while the other was a townhouse.
The interior of the restaurant (we were downstairs in the cafe part) is nicely full of crisp clean furniture with warm highlights. We couldn’t believe how large the place was – our floor, another floor above us and a floor above that with the facilities. It was so quiet it was hard to believe how many people were there being served.
Service was really nice – friendly, funny, happy to answer any questions and make substitutions and not overbearing in anyway, they wierdly just popped over whenever we started to think about ordering something. Maybe telepathy is a hiring condition there?
Our biggest problem was deciding what to eat from the extensive menu in the sunshine away from the bitter North wind. Every plate that came out of the kitchen – usually a good indication of what’s good – looked delicious. As with most of the restaurants we’ve tried with Kiwi links, the menus are modern, focus on the ingredients, but don’t have a particular food style – they do have a few Kiwi twists though – Marmite soldiers for instance.
We settled in the end for a variety of dishes:
Turkish Menemen Baked Eggs with Nigella Yoghurt and Sourdough Bread – a in essence a Turkish ratatouille of onions, tomato, peppers and lovely spice topped with two perfectly baked eggs, a spiced flavoured yoghurt and sourdough bread perfect for dipping.
Eggs Benedict withYuzu Hollandaise (Yuzu is a small oriental citrus fruit) and Bacon or Salmon; The Yuzu Hollandaise was met with mixed reviews, but the perfectly poached eggs looked delicous atop their salmon or bacon and Muffin brunch-fellows.
A delicious looking Grilled Breakfast (Bacon, Scrambled Eggs etc.) Everything seemed to cooked really nicely as you’d expect, this certainly isn’t a greasy spoon.
And the Pièce de résistance: Ricotta filled pancakes with berry compote and Cream Fraiche. As per our very freindly waiters advice, we kinda had them as Breakfast Dessert, sharing between the table. Oh Boy were these delicious.
Crisp batter filled with soft creamy Ricotta cut with the sweetly sharp berries. This was… well it’s making my mouth water. You load your fork with a bit of everything and just enjoy.
We tried several coffees (Kiwi’s definately know how to make a mean flat white – full bodied without being burned, full fat milk (gasp) at just the right temperature) and whilst we didn’t order any of the delectable smoothies or delicious sounding ‘reviving cocktails’, we were tempted into ordering some of the hard to pronounce Teas made locally. We were also advised (laughingly) by our waiter that the Tea company recommends their Teas are served in stemmed wine glasses. Ever the adventurers we had a try, and thankfully had no incidents of smashing (though it steam a few specs).
Overall we really enjoyed ourselves. Unobstrusive friendly service, good food and a nice atmosphere it is a place that is very easy to linger in on a Saturday morning.
I definately recommend going to The Modern Pantry for a nice brunch near to Farringdon Tube Station (watch out at the station for marauding Kiwis but only near the 6th of Feb though). Be warned the menus are extensive, they have daily changing menus (including separate Saturday and Sunday Brunch menus) and I understand that you’re advised to book as it can get very busy.
Eggs Benedict: Bacon or Salmon? Discuss.