I remember the opening of The Modern Pantry more for its timing than anything else, for it coincided with the announcement that Lehman Brothers had gone into bankruptcy. The popular press swooped on this fact, with most calling the opening ill-timed.
A year on and thank goodness the restaurant is still here. The downstairs café area was boasting a full house on the night of our visit, although the upstairs dining room, nicely decked out in blue-grey walls, black tables and bleached wood floors, was only half full. Head chef is Kiwi Anna Hansen who previously worked with Peter Gordon at both The Sugar Club and Providores, the influences of which shows in the little fusion touches which dot her menu.
We started with a baked bee pollen crusted ricotta, pear, sorrel, endive and lucques olive salad with a Manuka honey and lemon dressing and a quinoa lavosh (a flatbread) (£7.50). The baked ricotta, with just a hint of sweet honey, was delicious. Creamy and light, it did not overwhelm the palate by being too heavy or rich. It was slightly crunchy from the pollen and resembled a fluffy savoury cheesecake. The lavosh, crispy and light, was also very tasty. The salad was dull however. The pears were sweet and firm, but barely dressed, it was difficult to taste the honey or lemon in the dressing. It was also underseasoned. Despite this, the quality of the ricotta made this dish worthwhile.