Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Come Dine with Me...(no I mean it): The Modern Pantry.

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. 

Throw away the plan

Inspiration can come from the strangest places. Even from Geri Halliwell, especially mid break up when you're racking your brain trying to figure out what matters to you, what really doesn't, and what you should just chuck out of your life. For me it is the bid for perfection. I find myself increasingly  gravitating towards the idea that the beautiful things and people we think we own do not necessarily make our lives beautiful, they can intimidate us, they can put severe pressure on us to make everything in our lives align with the perfection we already think we have attained in some areas that is lacking in others. 

‘Now I’m at home so much more, there are these moments once in a while when I think, “Jesus, look at all that.” Those pictures actually intimidate a lot of people. I’m totally solid with the “truth is beauty/beauty is truth” idea. But if I’m around it too long I start to feel trapped in this material world. I think I mustn’t get owned by my possessions, I mustn’t fall prey to materialism. Sometimes I think, “Hell, I’m going to burn them all.”’ Again, the slow Joker smile.

Read more: Jack Nicholson Interview

‘The desire for perfection is utterly miserable. I still have dreams, I still have goals, I’m still a little vain, but actually I’m just realising my humanness. Sometimes I’m a curvy, messy person who can say the wrong thing, sometimes fail.’

Read more: Geri Halliwell Interview
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