Style over substance
Oh, Modern Pantry. The injustice. The cocktails were brilliant, with none of that twee, sugary nonsense. Instead, a reviving assortment heavy on earthy, botanical negronis and salty, sour martinis.
And I was genuinely excited by the Saturday brunch menu, in all its cornbread and sambal-toting glory. Waffle with longons, you say? Yes please (that is, assuming that longons are just jumped-up lardons, which it transpires they are not). The plate arrived looking positively Narnian, with its ethereal dusting of icing sugar on a branch of lychee-esque fruit. But one question: how to eat it, without your fingers being papier-mached together by a goo of molten syrup and sweet fairy dust? My other half abandoned hope, and resorted to a post-brunch scotch egg at a nearby pub. Harrumph.
This was the problem - everything was a bit under par. eggs Shakshuka, that treasured Ottolenghi staple, was under par; with squash-ball solid yolks and whole, untempered spices. A plantain fritter looked suspiciously like… well, just a hunk of fried banana. Yuzu hollandaise was a bit of a taste sensation, and not necessarily in a good way.
Servers rocked man buns and alternative trouser lengths/shoe and sock combos. The place had a confident, trendy aesthetic that was just on the right side of contrived. Each peculiar, converted period room upstairs boasted walls decorated with art to buy, and a jaunty mismatch of furniture and crockery. It looked good, and initially appeared pitch perfect for its Clerkenwellian audience. But the kitchen simply couldn’t deliver the inspired dishes that flirted with brilliance within the confines of the printed menu only. (Mind you, the place was rammed from morning til afternoon tea, so I’m not sure I’m a reliable witness).
In short, the food wasn’t up to scratch, and I don’t think we’d bother with second chances in this instance. Shame, as rendang for breakfast is pretty much culinary bliss.