Modern Pantry: New Zealander chef Anne Hansen opened Modern Pantry in 2008 it has since earned itself a "Bib Gourmand"in the Michelin Guide 2009.
Hosting: Firstly never underestimate the power of good hosting, in Come Dine with Me there lies the secret of life...happy families, strong friendships, good networking, all can be achieved through a hostess with the mostess attitude. (Come Dine with Me is a lifestyle choice mmmkay?) Hosting at The Modern Pantry is taken seriously and yet conveyed as easy; as easy as the lovely combinations on the menu. Nothing feels forced and over ambitious about this intimate place. Waiting service felt more like hosting from home and making sure everyone was having a great meal rather than a check list of trained questions and procedures before you're handed the damage. The Modern Pantry really does fulfil the promise of its name: you are being welcomed into someone's rather fancy and well thought out pantry (not an old fusty country one mind you, a modern, uncluttered one) They then put some things together that happen to turn out to be delicious and so you stay for drinks and talk until the sun goes down.
Decor: Fabulous deli cum dining room cum cafe. Crisp white tables and chairs, candles burning in the day time (romance is not just for dusk ya know)
The Menu: reassuringly good food, exciting but always deeply pleasurable. Complimentary and contrasting ideas guide the Modern Pantry foodie philosophy.
I had the sugar cured New Caledonian prawn omelette, spring onion, coriander, smoked chilli sambal and the boyfriend had grilled ribeye steak and roast sweet potato with caramelised red onion. We then took the convo down a notch and centred all of our attention quite rightly on an orange marmalade pudding with a creamy and subtly white chocolate ice cream. The menu changes regularly and while a main can set you back from as much as 20 quid you could combine lovely £5.00 starters such as spiced sweet potato & ginger soup and date and feta fritters with tamarind yoghurt.
The Dinner Guests: My slightly hesitant anti-bourgeois boyfriend who secretly enjoys a fabulous meal as much as the next bourgeois man.
Dinner Topics: Property buying ie: evil, mercenary lawyers and estate agents, generally strained attempts at anecdote being derailed by the reality of my ailing romantic relationship (yes people. This review is slightly marred by the demise of my relationship with said boyfriend a mere 24 hours later...don't blame The Modern Pantry, blame reality....if only the marmalade pudding had become a part of our life a little earlier, all may have been saved. But damn love to hell, food at The Modern Pantry could never be anything less than heavenly.