Sunday evening is such a difficult time to get excited about. It’s normally a time where you are trying to savour the last few hours of the weekend, yet your mind cannot help but drift to what is happening on Monday morning. Thoughts drift about how you are going to be getting through the next five days and what mechanisms you can use to avoid doing work. For restaurants, this time of the week. It’s past the rush of the weekend and now it’s time to adjust to the coming week. But yet there is this one meal to go. What kind of food do people associate with a Sunday evening? It’s not like you can do what would be done at home, serve up the leftovers of the roast.
I visited the Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell on such a Sunday evening. I had always wanted to go back to this place after an excellent meal a couple of years ago. When my companion and I entered, we were the only people in the restaurant. As the meal went on, we would be joined by only two other groups. The restaurant is cosy enough but it is hard to get a sense of atmosphere when you’re close to outnumbering the members of staff. My companion and I started with sharing three plates; beetroot, liquorice & soy marinated salmon sashimi with yuzu crème fraiche and pomegranate slaw, sugar-cured New Caledonian prawn omelette with smoked chilli sambal, green chilli, spring onion and coriander, smoked paprika & lemongrass marinated squid with confit garlic and pickled cauliflower accompanied with prawn bisque.
The salmon sashimi was very disappointing as the fish came with a very peculiar dressing and my companion and I were not entirely sure about the freshness of the fish. It is always a bad sign when you have to give the benefit of the doubt to food and be left with a nagging feeling that you might be giving yourself food poisoning. However, the prawn omelette and squid were of much more higher quality. The omelette was very compelling in the abundant mixture of flavours with the smoked chilli sambal adding a great deal. The way in which the squid was marinated made it extremely succulent and tasty.
It was well worth coming back to the Modern Pantry, even during this awkward time of the week. One advantage of coming at this time means that you are guaranteed a table, even if there is not much in the way of atmosphere as people stare into space and wonder how they are going get through to the next Friday evening.
The Modern Pantry
47-48 St John’s Square