48 St. John’s Square | http://www.themodernpantry.co.uk | ingested 19th Sept 2009
I’m not one for big breakfasts or early mornings usually (unless I’m forced to of course). Frankly, I’m not sure which hero in the history of humanity invented the tagline “…eat Breakfast like a king, Lunch like a prince and Dinner like a pauper”. If it were up to me, humans would only have 2 main meals a day – a big Brunch followed by an even bigger Dinner. On this note, there is a brilliant café-cum-dining room which lies in the heart of Clerkenwell that is open all day long. However, the main event at this gem of an institution without any question or doubt is Brunch. And trust me, its good enough even to warrant a trek back into the City over the weekend.
Interior and Exterior
Housed in a Grade II listed Georgian building, The Modern Pantry blurs the boundaries between different food cultures and countries, fusing ingredients and cooking styles from all corners of the globe. I had the luxury of 2 perfectly poached eggs on toasted ciabatta, served with grilled chorizo, caramelized plantain fritters and slow-roasted vine tomatoes. This heavenly combination of savoury and sweet was absolutely delish and can take-down the English Breakfast in a brawl any time, any day. If runny yolks are not your thing, you can have your eggs scrambled or sunny side up instead. Whats more, as alternatives to the grilled chorizo, purists can opt for the classic streaky bacon while Veggans can indulge in pan-fried halloumi.
Poached Eggs with Grilled Chorizo, Carmelised plantain and Oven-roasted vine tomatoes
If you’re feeling something a little sweeter to start your day, the seasonal pancakes here are seriously to die for. On the menu at this time of the year was raspberry and goat’s curd pancakes, served with crème fraiche and a plum-berry compote. I’m not sure the science behind it, but the curd successfully transforms your everyday pancake into one that’s just come out of a luxury spa treatment – a fluffier, moister breed emerges that will simply melt away in your mouth.
Raspberry and Goat’s curd Pancake with Creme fraiche and plum-berry compote
But for me, this place is not just about the food. There is something truly therapeutic about the weekend brunch experience in its totality here. Maybe it’s the cosy, communal table where newspapers, magazines and pastries are sprawled out in the open, welcoming patrons to unwind. Or maybe it’s the warmth from the vintage copper lamps and the sunshine streaming in through the floor-to-ceiling windows. There is something about this place which makes you wind down and let everything go. Who needs kings, princes and paupers. You will leave The Modern Pantry feeling on top of the world. A Brunch fit for an Emperor and only a tenner a piece.