Sunday, 11 October 2009

dinner at the modern pantry

o and i celebrated our first year together over the fusion flavours of anna hansen’s cuisine at the modern pantry. the food here can be steep on the pocket but luckily we had the london restaurant festival in our favour – two courses and a glass of bubbly for a fantastic twenty five quid.

o and i started out on sweet corn, feta, date and coriander fritters with green pepper relish and greek yoghurt and kruper quail eggs with a sweet chili dip. my fritters were a medley of colour, texture and flavour. sweet, salty, the heat of chilli calmed by the soothing yoghurt. this may explain why as always o eats more of my starter than his own. o’s quail eggs were encased in a light tempura-esque batter paired with a sweet chilli dip.

our entrees were fuller and heartier in flavour. they were both red meat: mine an onglet ofbeef marinated in miso, cooked medium rare and served carved surrounded by its juices, a tart and chili tomatillo relish with earthy and comforting thick cut cassava chips on the side. o’sduck leg curry featured a large duck leg cooked to such tenderness that a mere nudge of the fork had the meat falling off the bone. fresh green coriander added spring, lemongrass a complexity and bok choi a break from the robustness of the dish. there was fragrant thai rice on the side.

although quite full we felt that something sweet was a necessity. i think it was also a curiosity as to what there was. on the waiters recommendation we had the chocolate based dessert -chocolate and liquorice delice, chocolate granita, sautéed plums, cocoa chilli wafer. it was an interesting concoction of dark and light chocolate, textures that were brittle and melting and tart sautéed plums that had slightly caramelized edges. both o and i tried to get a bit of everything into each bite and combined together with a hint of cream for a smooth edge, it really was delicious.

the modern pantry brings together ingredients and flavours that i would not necessarily conceive of putting together but when they did arrive they displayed a natural affinity for each other – texture, flavour, colour, depth and contrasting temperatures to make for a wonderful dinner. our only advice is, don’t order the hot chocolate. it is a disappointing affair. more suited to a child’s palate on account of its pale milky-ness. it is bereft of the richness that both o and i like in our hot chocolate.

Friday, 2 October 2009

poached tamarillo, greek yoghurt, manuka honey

breakfast at the modern pantry

an early winter day found o and i at breakfast, one of our favourite meals of the day. we had chosen the modern pantry, which is known for its eclectic offerings. i had the sugar cured new caledonian prawn omelette. essentially strong asian flavours, coriander to garnish and the slight heat of chilli in from sambal. it was a great savoury note to start on although i had to order bread on the side as the omelette is served without. o’s plate was a riot of colour, emerald green spinach, slow roasted vine tomatoes with a hint of dried herbs, grilled salty halloumi cheese and poached eggs with deep yellow yolks.

i have a soft spot for tamarillo’s. a south american fruit with a ruby red flesh and skin. at the modern pantry it is served poached in a snow-white greek yoghurt with a swirl of thick, amber coloured manuka honey. manuka honey has a deep and strong taste, its sweetness is complex. it is the dark chocolate of honey. the tamarillo tastes like a cross between guava’s and raspberries albeit with a smooth texture. a must try if you are breakfasting or brunching at the modern pantry.