The Modern Pantry, EC2A

The third Brunch Club gathering took place on 6th November 2016 at The Modern Pantry, The Alphabeta Building, 14 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1AH. Their brunch menu has some pleasingly unusual options, so we were all very much looking forward to this one.

INITIAL BEVERAGES

LORI: Started with a soya latte, obvs. Then got tempted by the ‘brunch bubbles’ and had the rather lovely clementine, black cardamom and saffron.
LOU: I had some english breakfast tea and then had a ‘Rose’ bellini – I don’t think I’d ever had such a deliciously floral bubbly treat before.
ED: I was enraptured by the existence of a TEA LIBRARY (which I didn’t actually order from as it was a bit pricey, but lovely to have the option). I had an English Breakfast tea* and then an incredibly delicious peanut and praline hot chocolate.
ELEANOR: Unsurprisingly, a flat white! It was lovely. I was also drawn in by the bellinis and had a delicious white peach drink which was wonderful.

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WHAT WE HAD

LORI: Grilled cornbread with chorizo, two fried eggs, charred sweetcorn, avocado & red pepper salsa. Instagrammable and also extremely tasty. From the dessert menu, I went for the chai spiced buttermilk panna cotta (this is exactly the sort of situation I carry lactase tablets for!) with manuka honey roast plums & sesame seed tuille. Heaven!
LOU: Everything on the menu looks so amazing I really struggled to choose – I went for the Grilled smoked streaky bacon with two poached eggs and delicious bread, coconut & soy braised Portobello mushrooms, lemongrass roast vine ripened tomatoes – amazing take on the full english! For my brunch-afters I chose the most amazing Pineapple tart tatin, with miso & tamarind caramel, turmeric & yoghurt sorbet, pineapple sherbet – honestly, that caramel made me a very happy girl.

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ED: I had a lovely veggie brunch staple of fried eggs, halloumi, spinach and tomatoes with some perfect toast. It delicious but as always, I could always do with more halloumi. For Brunch-Pudding I had a chai-spiced panna cotta as well, It was absolutely DIVINE!
ELEANOR: Well, how does one say no to the possibility of double waffles? My first course of savoury waffles were sweetcorn, feta, Medjool date & spring onion waffle, with smoked streaky bacon and maple syrup. The salty sweet waffle went so well with the salty sweet classic maple syrup & bacon combination. I’ve never had savoury waffles before and confirm these were delicious! For sweet, I had the coconut & cassava waffle with summer berry compote and crème fraiche. The waffles had a wonderful light coconut flavour and fluffy texture, and the toppings were perfect and not too sweet with the crème fraiche which was just what i needed on my second course of waffles. These weren’t your sickly sweet waffles, a much gentler but just as delicious option.

WAFFLE SITUATION?

ELEANOR: DOUBLE WAFFLES!

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WHAT DID WE CHAT ABOUT?

LORI: RuPaul’s Drag Race. We chatted about it so much that the waiting staff, who were also fans, joined in! I also handed out the custom made Brunch Club badges, which were a good conversation starter.
LOU: We also covered plans for Ed’s wedding and shared some anxiety of how quickly Christmas was looming.
ED: I feel like all we talk about is my wedding, I’m not a conversation hog, I promise!
ELEANOR: The badges! Tea, fancy places to go for brunch and upcoming Christmas plans.

SERVICE, ATMOSPHERE, TOILET STANDARDS/QUIRKS

LORI: Lovely decadent atmosphere and the most amazingly comfortable mid-century modern chairs. Friendly and efficient staff, who somehow managed to take our drinks orders without getting in the way of our enthusiastic hellos! Very nice toilets.
LOU: The Modern Pantry has these fancy taps with the hand-dryers attached – I was a bit obsessed.
ED: We were all so excited to check out the loos, they were brilliant, clean, and gender neutral as well! Loved the decor, the atmosphere was great. The brilliant waiting staff provided us with individual bills which made paying very speedy indeed.
ELEANOR: The decor was just beautiful, it had such a lovely laid-back mid-century vibe, it almost felt Mad Men-ish. The staff were so friendly and the whole place just felt comfortable for a leisurely brunch. Not cosy but the right place for a treat.

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POST-BRUNCH PLANS

LORI: Went to a super-fun clothes swap at a friend’s house.
LOU: I ambled through the city and took some photos before meeting up with friends
ED: Straight home to Muswell for a food shop!
ELEANOR: I went with Lori to the clothes swap.

FINAL THOUGHTS

LORI: SO GOOD! Would recommend this place for a relaxed catch up or a special occasion. The food, service and ambiance are fantastic, plus the menu is nicely varied.
LOU: Such amazing value for money – although the food might be in places on the pricier side, the range of flavours, modern twists of classics and general ambience more than makes up for it. We went to the Finsbury Square branch, so I think in the week this might be much busier with City Types, so I think best to visit on the weekend.
ED: What a brilliant find. Food was of an incredibly high standard, service was perfect. I would say this was a special treat brunch, perhaps if you’re taking your parents out, that sort of thing. Take me back for the TEA LIBRARY!
ELEANOR: Just wonderful, we went because it was supposed to be good for gluten-free but it was all round excellent. Not cheap but worth it for a proper brunch. They do an afternoon tea which looks very tempting. We didn’t even try their doughnuts which looked immense.

The image of The Modern Pantry at the top of this post is via Squaremeal. All other images were snapped by Brunch Club members on their phones, so excuse any blurriness as we were all rather excited about eating the food. *Tea Note: The Modern Pantry serve both bagged and loose leaf tea.

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