THE MODERN PANTRY, CLERKENWELL

PSX_20150606_221454There’s a little golden halo around this place for me. It was the first on my London list, before where to eat became a part-time hobby and a full-time obsession. With one thing and another I booked then cancelled a handful of times and it started to feel like I might never make it to this mythical place. Finally I did, and I can breathe a content sigh of relief, it didn’t fall short of my day dreams.

The façade couldn’t be more charming in the sunshine with fabulously tended flowers in bloom. Flowers that I fell in love with on first setting eyes on it. I liked it a little more when, on entering, I was allowed to sit at a table and wait with an Americano rather than having to hover awkwardly until ‘my full party had arrived’ to be seated. The interior is bright and light in an elegant, understated, not sterile, way. Splashes of colour from the art that peppers the walls and the copper lighting are enough to blush the room with a soft golden glow. The modern pantry feels like a lesson in sophistication.

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Coffee in hand, I took the liberty of ordering both a hazelnut croissant and a pecan and pumpkin seed pain au chocolat because I just couldn’t forgo either. Not touching them before my friend arrived took every ounce of will power I have…

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This left me time to peruse the menu – both a blessing and a curse. The more I looked, the more I noticed I would like to try. The eternal toss up between savoury and sweet left me torn between the lemon and poppy seed waffles and the Rendang mince and deep-fried egg. My friend arrived and my insatiable sweet tooth won out, waffles it was.

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Time to try croissants. Now, as tempting as they smelt, they were little ugly ducklings. Somewhat dumpy and dense, they weren’t exactly how I imagined, and indeed, probably not exactly how they were intended but they tasted quite delicious nonetheless. What they lacked in feather-light, tear-able pastry they made up for in squidy scrumminess.

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The delicious-sounding oat, buckwheat, puffed wild rice, sour cherry, fennel seed & pecan muesli, with raspberries arrived with a mini milk bottle of almond milk which was rather cute. The waffles, with elderflower poached strawberries, rhubarb and yogurt, stood proud on the plate tinged an unworldly green by the pandan. They were moist, delectable and the embellishments were perfect, particularly the strawberries. My only complaint would be that I would have been happy to see a few more of them on the plate but maybe that’s greedy…

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A word of warning for anyone who browses the menu online – don’t get your heart too set on anything in particular; on the day we were given a different variation. However, I think you can trust the Modern Pantry to have replaced anything lost with something equally enticing. More good news… there’s a sister venue on the way. Another thing to add to the, now considerable, list.

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