If ever there was an argument for reclaiming modernity from the graveyard it was consigned to by the arrival of the brave new world of post-modernity, then The Modern Pantry is surely it. There’s no meta-narrative in the menu, the architecture and decor thankfully free from deconstructivist tendencies and the food itself – like the building, the tableware, and the staff – is well presented, interesting and high calibre.
What’s more, it successfully melds the non-negotiable elements of good breakfast with streaks of inspiring originality. This is maybe more important than you think – there’s nothing worse than a place so self-consciously devoted to ‘creativity’ that the core of the breakfast experience is lost. Likewise no heart will ever be lifted by a plate loaded with all the right ingredients but thrown together without care or attention.
But at the Modern Pantry you need have no fear of such a fate. Our intrepid breakfasters took a sample of fare from across the whole menu. I opted for the closest approximation I could find to a full English – two fried eggs, toast, grilled chorizo, caramelised plantain fritters, slow-roast vine ripened tomatoes (with a side platter of halloumi). My compatriots respectively took the sugar cured New Caledonian prawn omelette (with green chilli, spring onions, coriander, smoked chilli sambal) and a polenta and avocado pancake with bacon and maple syrup.
Service was prompt and friendly, the coffee hot and musky and the food was pretty much exactly as good as it sounds – which is always the way it should be. It’s all terribly boho-cum-hipster in decor and style, and typical patron seems to reflect this. If that’s your thing then this place will be like a second home to you – but even if not, the food more than stands its own in the London breakfast arena.