The Modern Pantry – Finsbury Square with John White, 31 March 2016

John and I arranged this evening ages ago, without finalising time and location. It was John’s turn to choose and he opted for The Modern Pantry’s new venture in Finsbury Square. This was well located for both of us now John works in the City. In any case, we had enjoyed a fine meal at the Clerkenwell parent restaurant not all that long ago.

John was still smarting about my recent posting of the Hackgrass reveal story from June 1985, despite all the years he has had to get over it and despite the extensive cathartic rant he posted the other day, for some reason in the comments section of this unconnected piece about the 1984 Summer Ball. In his usual understated manner, John told me that I had ruined his entire life that day, 10 June 1985. In my usual unrepentant manner I suggested that he might be exaggerating more than a little and did not apologise.

In truth, we really wanted to talk about Pady Jalali’s impending visit, our families, leisure, work, UK politics, the Europe vote, the US elections, life, the universe and everything. Naturally, we talked about all of those things.

We even chatted about little speaker thingies you can now get for less than £20 that come with woofers, tweeters, the lot. I made the mistake of looking my gadget up on Amazon for John when I got home and I am now being bombarded by Amazon with spam and personalised ads for little speaker thingies. (Other sources of spam, personalised ads and speaker thingies are available).

The food at Finsbury Square was good without being outstanding, whereas we remember the Clerkenwell place being genuinely outstanding. The latter was a sort of middle-eastern fusion, whereas this new venture is more an Asian fusion idea.

John started with a smoked salmon sashimi (contradiction in terms but lovely dressing) while I had a soft shell crab starter in a sort-of Indonesian style. John had a very subtle monk fish main, which was tasty but not exceptional. I think I did a little better with a curried duck leg – again up-market sort-of south-east Asian style. John followed with some cheese, while I tried a black sesame cheese-cake which I rather liked  as it was not too sweet. I could see why the waitress said that some people love it while others don’t like it so much.

In truth, I would return to The Modern Pantry Clerkenwell but probably not to this Finsbury Square branch. If I have a crazy craving for Asian fusion, I think I’d stay closer to home and dine at E&O. Of course, Janie and I dined at the latter with John and Mandy years ago and had a great evening…

…as indeed did John and I at The Modern Pantry Finsbury Square. Always a treat to try these places and always a pleasant evening when John and I catch up.

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