When foods are too complex…
For my last dinner in London, I had the privilege of eating at this charming establishment, The Modern Pantry. I think the food was good but don’t remember details — there was way too much going on.
Each menu item takes about three to four lines, there are really, that many ingredients. That salad, for example, is not just any salad. It has about 14 different ingredients including seasonings. The large-ish brown squares were made of bran, it was delicious. Looking at the menu on The Modern Pantry’s site right now, the only salad listed is: Baharat crusted Stichelton, roast red onion, pickled beetroot, dandelion and spiced pumpkin seek salad, argan oil dressing. That’s not the salad we had, but as you can see, complex ingredient list.
The frittata isn’t listed but there is a Sugar-cured New Caledonian prawn omelette, smoked chilli sambal, green chilli, spring onion and coriander dish. I don’t think that was it, either.
The dishes are plentiful and full of volume. When the rabbit was put in front of me I swear my jaw dropped. I don’t think I’ve ever been served rabbit that colossal before. And the pork belly, wow. It. Was. Huge.
The dishes up close:
Again, the dishes aren’t listed on the current menu so sadly I can’t write out the ingredient lists but here are two samples of the main dishes to give an idea of the style of The Modern Pantry’s foods:
Cavolo nero, hijiki and manouri; ricotta, quinoa and liquorice dumpling, sweet potato buckwheat spring roll, pickled celeriac and carrot, spiced brown butter.
Orange, ginger and sweet smoked paprika roast duck breast, braised salsify, crispy pickled shiitake, black garlic and hazelnut yoghurt.
I was surprised and flattered to see Japanese ingredients (hijiki – which is a type of sea vegetable, we eat it stewed or braised and manouri – a special seaweed, most likely from ma konbu, I’ve never heard of manouri until this night) listed alongside foods and spices from around the world.
My dining companion and I were planning to share the mains (I’m all about family style!) He wanted the duck listed up there but they had just sold out when we ordered. The foods were pretty intense and there were flavors and sensations I’ve never experienced before. I’m still processing but it was a once in a lifetime dinner for sure.
London’s food scene is impressive, to say the least.
The Modern Pantry
47-48 St. John’s Square
Just tell the cab / Uber driver: EC1V 4JJ, St. John’s Square.