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It may not be as “homely” as the Clerkenwell original, but fans reckon that this second branch of Anna Hansen’s Modern Pantry is a “strong contender” for lunch, dinner and private bashes. Housed in Finsbury Square’s art-deco Alphabeta building, it strikes a clean-lined minimalist pose, with high ceilings, whitewashed walls and a standalone tapas bar serving up international small plates alongside sherry-based cocktails and other ‘liveners’. For the rest, head chef Rob McLeary offers up perky fusion dishes inspired by Hansen’s travels and Kiwi roots – think seared diver-caught scallops with chorizo and Urfa chilli mash, slow-roast pork belly with soy-braised lentils, saffron onions, marinated feta and prunes or grilled rib-eye with cassava chips, salad greens and spiced gooseberry relish. Desserts also see some daring flavour combinations such as black peppercorn and yoghurt parfait with strawberry and cardamom sorbet. Wines back up the global theme, and service gets a big cheer.
I always wondered what all the fuss about brunch was. Was it only the province of the Ladies who Lunch?We decided to embark on this journey to the heart of the city (I know how estate agent that phrase sounds) to sample the arrayed delicacies of brunch.Berry happy, blueberry, blackberry and fresh apple. I was very happy too. A sweet little treat.Toasted buckwheat, rolled oats, puffed wild rice, fennel, sour cherry, almond muesli and apple juice. Now, I admit to being startled here. This was the first time that I had tried apple juice with cereal. I thought it would be vile. It turned out surprisingly...
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