Tuesday 26 February 2013

The Modern Pantry: innovative and surprising gf friendly cuisine

I do love The Modern Pantry.  I don't know quite why everything tastes good and why the very surprising flavour combinations work. What I do know is that my plate always ends up empty.

Reading the ever-changing menu can be a tad perplexing. You seriously have to think about all of these, often unusual, ingredients together, and it's usually that it isn't until the dish arrives and you are tasting it that you "get" it.  I mean here's an example:  a pomegranate molasses and tonka bean roast pear, golden beetroot, Stichleton, bull’s blood and sorrel salad with spiced pecans and verjus dressing. What is that going to taste like? And there's the excitement to it. It's great foodie fun.

It's a fresh, clean and contemporary dining space in Clerkenwell. The staff are friendly and accommodating, especially with allergies. The New Zealand chef Anna Hansen is well versed in gluten-free, as the antipodeans do always seem to be.

I had scallops with a carrot puree, carrot crisps and a lime marshmallow. Zingy and sweet, with a delicately salted scallop, it was not only a taste sensation but a tasty sensation, if you catch my drift.

For mains I had a coffee dusted venison loin with pickled rhubarb, greens, venison jus, chestnut puree and liquorice. There was a different party in my mouth with each bite. The venison was perfectly cooked and still pink in the middle and the tart rhubarb cut through its richness, while the warm nutty chestnut puree bear-hugged the whole lot.

The cocktails are fabulous though we were in the mood for some red wine on the freezing February night we were there. In a place like this try the House: they've picked it for a reason and it was delicious and didn't break the bank.

We were too stuffed for desserts, though the cinder toffee ice cream and the passionfruit and yuzu sorbet both caught my eye. Or perhaps you fancy the chestnut, red currant & wattleseed meringue roulade with a pecan & orange praline and ginger beer sorbet?

Brunch is also very popular here - I have friends who rave about it but have yet to try it out myself and check out the gluten free options. But a kitchen that likes to play with gluten free ingredients such as chickpea flour, amaranth and polenta rather than using boring old wheat flour - that's always a positive sign in my book.

Afterwards do nip next door to one of my favourite haunts - The Zetter Townhouse - for a cheeky after dinner cocktail concoction - my favourites are the Koln Martini or the absinthe tinged Les Fleurs de Mal.

Gluten Free Knowledge: ★★★★
Gluten Free Range: ★★★
Taste: ★★★★
Atmosphere: ★★★★

Verdict: A must for adventurous foodies who want to have a meal that you will really remember. 
Square Meal


  1. I love the Modern Pantry. I have not been to the restaurant itself, but visited a pop up the did once in Soho, a few years ago now I think. I loved reading the menu. It is almost like reading an addictive novel. I couldn't tear myself away to join in the general pre ordering conversation that was going on around the table. For a foodie, it definitely breeds antisocial behaviour!! Visiting the original restaurant has been on my to do list ever since I came to London two and a half years ago, and after reading about its gluten free friendliness, it is now a must!
    Can they guarantee that there is no cross contamination with gluten products in the kitchen I wonder?
    Lovely read with my cuppa this morning, thank you!

  2. Great review! I will definitely check them out because of your article. From your words, it’s a great place to check in on a Valentine’s day. Because, I am a little bit desperate to find something good, where my girlfriend and I could spend our evening with pleasure. Moreover, we will definitely try Les Fleurs de Mal and the Koln Martini, I really want to know how they taste. But I think I’ll better check via Translation Services what is meaning of “Les F…”.