Tag Archives: EC1

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Brunch Review – The Modern Pantry, St John’s Square, EC1V

The Modern Pantry is situated on a lovely square in Clerkenwell
The Modern Pantry is situated on a lovely square in Clerkenwell.

Andrew was getting stressed about his birthday (he doesn’t like his birthday), so I asked him what he really wanted to do. His response? He just wanted to go to brunch with me (n’awww). So I decided to go to a nice (but not fancy – we’re not fancy types) brunch. I did some research and whittled it down between Duck & Waffle and The Modern Pantry. After glancing at both menus, I picked The Modern Pantry (still want to go to D&W though) as it had more things on the menu I knew Andrew would like. He loves fusion food that are packed full of lots of flavours, and head chef, Anna’s menu certainly seemed to cover a lot of those bases.

The Modern Pantry Dining Room
The Modern Pantry Dining Room

So we trotted off with our hangovers (we’d completed on our flat the day before, so celebrated hard the night before!) to Clerkenwell. We ordered our drinks, which came with speed, and started analysing the menu.

This is what a hangover looks like.
This is what a hangover looks like.

There was loads to choose from, and Andrew started looking a bit panicky that he wanted everything.

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In the end we went for, ahem, three dishes to share.

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This is grilled cornbread, chorizo, a fried egg, charred sweetcorn, avocado and red pepper salsa. It was pretty dry, but the egg broke open to reveal a soft and silky yolk which helped the whole dish massively. There was a gentle hum to the dish, but it was really surprisingly light.

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We also ordered the sweetcorn, feta,green chilli & curry leaf waffles, smoked streaky bacon with maple syrup, which sounds INSANE, and it was – but in an amazing way! It was so packed full of different flavours and everything was balanced perfectly, so in a bit you’d get fluffy waffle, sharp cheese and then sweet maple syrup, plus a faint after taste of curry – it was extraordinary but an absolute triumph. Anna is obviously a master at flavour combinations.

The last thing we ordered takes 20 mins to cook, so it was perfect timing for us to take a break and compare hungover notes (results: we were both hungover).

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Then it arrived: raspberry and ricotta pancakes with berry and liquorice compote, crème fraiche. Oh sweet lord. The pancakes were fluffy and light and the compote cut beautiful through the creme fraiche and rich pancakes. They were extremely filling, so I started to feel quite sick by this point, but boy was it worth it.

The Modern Pantry is something a little bit special. There were lots of people in there celebrating stuff (a groom’s party who were suited and booted, drinking champagne pre-ceremony, a couple who had just got engaged and were celebrating with their excited friends), so it created this lovely atmosphere, yet it was relaxed and informal, with perfect service.

Andrew claimed it to be the best brunch he’d ever had, so it was a birthday winner!

Service: 5

Venue: 5

Value: 4

Overall: 9/10

The Modern Pantry, 47-48 St Johns Square, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 4JJ

Nearest tube: Farringdon (10 min walk)

Modern Pantry on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Lunch Review – Yum Bun, Featherstone St, EC1Y

yum_bun

yum_bun

I move around with my job fairly frequently, being that I am freelance these days. I really enjoy the variety of moving to different offices, working with different people and also working in different areas of London. Having spent the last two and a bit years in West London, I am relieved to not have to schlep over there anymore. At the moment I am working for a content agency in Shoreditch, and am very much enjoying the range of lunch time options open to me. I’m a big fan of Whitecross Street Market on Thursdays and Fridays, especially Luardo’s van. YUM!

But one hot, sunny lunchtime this week I decided it was time to try Yum Bun. Yum Bun make gua bao (Taiwanese steamed, filled buns to the uninitiated) from a short menu with options for pork, chicken, salmon or veggie. You can also get a bento box, which comes with 2 buns, a handful of veggie goyza, miso soup and a salad.

I sidled up to the small shop front and joined a queue of Shoreditch hipsters. My lunch buddy, Simon, stood at my side and busily moaned about how trying new places always means queuing (he was NOT a fan of Meat Liquor). I had to say, after being the first in the queue for 15 mins with no acknowledgement from the staff, I was begrudgingly coming around to his way of thinking. Then I was called forward and placed my order and parted with the best part of £8 for a Bento box. Simon’s eyebrows shot up into his hairline and he muttered something about Tesco’s sandwiches. Simon is not a fan of trends. Well, modern trends. I don’t know why Simon is getting such a starring role in this blog post, it’ll only encourage him and he really does not need that.

Anyway, then I waited. There were probs about 4 people in front of me. I waited and waited. Simon left to go to Tescos. I waited. While I was there the staff behind the counter had tetchy exchanges, which always annoys me: dudes, if you have a problem with each other don’t show it in front of customers, yeah? Thirty minutes of pass agg staff and sighing later I was called forward. My buns were dressed and I was given a bag and off I trotted back to the office just in time for the end of my lunch break. Wicked.

I believe this is called the "beauty shot". Keyboard: model's own.
I believe this is called the “beauty shot”. Keyboard and IKEA glass: model’s own.

I was now grimly determined to HATE those stupid, pretentious Taiwanese buns that stole £8 of my hard-earned money and an hour of my time. The service was crap too, I grumbled to myself in my head. “This is definitely going to be terrible and I’ll write a review saying it’s all crap and that’ll make me feel better,” I thought as I got to grips with my first bun, a chicken number with tartare sauce.

Yum Bun's Bento Box - inside
Yum Bun’s Bento Box – inside

However, as soon as I bit into my chicken bun, I was filled with horror and disappointment: this bun was good. It was beautifully seasoned, with a delicately-balanced and nicely sharp tartare dressing. The buns were soft and chewy, like savoury marshmallows. “Great, now I can’t write an arsey review,” I thought, my resolve quickly fading. I’m nothing if not a negative person, guys.

Yum Bun: Chicken Steamed Bun
Yum Bun: Chicken Steamed Bun

I then was ready for my pork belly bun, with plum sauce. I knew it was going to be great, and this time I wasn’t wrong.

Yum Bun: Pork Steamed Bun
Yum Bun: Pork Steamed Bun

I get slightly unnerved by how much fat is on pork belly and what it might do to my arteries, but this was good. The pork was soft and pulled apart easily. The plum sauce was lightly smokey and pretty sweet. There was some salad in there too to give a bit of a crunch texture, and to bring it together so it was like those ubiquitous duck pancakes you get in all Chinese gaffs.

The veggie goyzas were lovely and crisp. The inside was a little insipid, but I often find that to be the way with veggie rolls. The salad was nicely dressed and acted as a nice palate cleanser after the pork. The miso soup? Could have done without it. I mean, it was fine and yeah, I did eat/drink most of it but it didn’t add a whole lot.

Would I go back? Probably not. There’s far too many other gems in Shoreditch to discover to worry about going back to the same place twice. I believe Yum Bun is a pop-up, which is perhaps for the best as they don’t really have a lengthy enough menu to keep people coming back, especially if they have to spend a good portion of their lunchtime queuing. Would I recommend it to you? Sure, go for it. Maybe avoid rush hours, but it’s a good, filling lunch-esque snack. Maybe on pay day, as it’s a bit steep for a regular lunch.

Service: 2/5

Venue: 1/5

Value: 2/5

Overall: 2/5

Yum Bun, 31 Featherstone Street, EC1Y 2BJ

Nearest tube: Old Street

 

 
Yum Bun on Urbanspoon

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