Modern Pantry, EC1V 4JJ
- 020 7553 9210
- 47-48 St Johns Square, EC1V 4JJ
- complicated (see website)
An excellent cafe, restaurant, and delicatessen in Clerkenwell, opened in late 2008.
This venture, which was started by one of the partners at the Providores & Tapa Room in Marylebone, overlooks the historic St John's Gate near Clerkenwell Green. Inside, the decor is sophisticated, modern, light, airy and attractive. The cafe downstairs seats 40 and is open every day. A delicatessen sells produce and dry goods in a back room. Upstairs is a larger dining area (60 covers), in two large rooms photo of the upper front dining room.
On Ewan's Friday lunchtime visit in February 2009, the dining rooms were only around half full, so there should be no trouble getting a table, though the cafe area was far more busy. Service is friendly and efficient.
The use of ingredients is every bit as interesting and inventive as at the Providores & Tapa Room, though without the same emphasis on south-east Asian influences. The cooking here is modern European, but no less enticing for all that. The menu, which is a variant on that served downstairs in the cafe, covers a range of options, including vegetarian photo of menu. The menu on our visit even included a kangaroo meat starter (more amusing given the chef proprietor hails from New Zealand).
Bread was offered before the meal came, a very tasty selection indeed. We both chose as our starter the pan-fried manouri (which is a type of cheese, somewhat similar in texture to feta), with roast golden beetroot, red onion and shaved fennel, toasted pinenuts, pomegranate molasses dressing, and a parmesan crisp on top (£7.20). The combined cheese flavours were balanced by leaves and roasted beetroot below, and was very satisfying. photo.
Ewan's main of celeriac, leek & porcini gratin, grilled spring onions, a deep fried egg, and sumac (£13.50), was beautifully executed photo. Gratin was suitably filling, and the egg was particularly nicely presented, looking for all the world like a scoop of icecream. My friend's pan-fried wild halibut, with carrot & miso puree, seaweed, and liquorice & sesame relish (£19), got a very positive reaction as well, particularly for the liquorice & sesame relish which perfectly offset the fish photo.
The dessert of poached rhubarb, goat's cheese custard brulee, with ginger & almond shortbread (£6.50), that my friend had, was also well commended, notably the striking taste of goat's custard photo. Ewan had the cheeseboard (£8.50), not excessively large, but well selected and with some lovely pickle and generous oatcakes photo.
- Guardian review by Matthew Norman (Jan 2009)
- Dos Hermanos review (Aug 2008)
- Fay Maschler's review in the Evening Standard
- Time Out review
- Jan Moir's review
- An American In London review
- Chowhound thread
- Ito Eats reviews: 1, 2
- Su-Lin's photos and brief reviews: 1, 2
- A Girl Has To Eat review
- The Catty Life review
- Tom Eats Jen Cooks review
- Francoise's Miscellany review
- London Chow review
- London Review Of Breakfasts review
- London Tastin' review
- Fifteen Pickles review
- London Eating comments
- Tiny Kitchen Tales review
- The Boy Who Ate The World review (brunch)
- The Arbuturian review (afternoon tea in the cafe)