The Modern Pantry Is a Pleasure to Be In
“Anna Hansen first made her mark in London as one of the cooks and co-owners, along with fellow New Zealander Peter Gordon, of Providores in Marylebone, the restaurant that pioneered Pacific Rim ‘fusion’ food,” Evening Standard reviewer David Sexton writes.
“It brought together unexpected ingredients and spices from around the world and did it notably well, unlike many, indeed almost everybody, who followed in its trail.
“In 2008, Hansen finally opened her own place, The Modern Pantry, a cleanly modernised space in Clerkenwell’s St John’s Square.
“Now she has expanded Citywards, into a large, handsome room on the ground-floor of the newly refurbished Alphabeta building on the corner of Finsbury Square.
“You don’t come here for simple, plain and predictable,” Sexton says. “Service is smiling – assiduous without being pushy.
“The head chef is Rob McLeary, who has worked with Hansen since 2008: the menu sticks closely to the Modern Pantry format, and there’s no doubting the care and expertise of the execution. Our starters delighted us.
“For the fuss, it’s fairly priced and the wine list isn’t deterrent either – we enjoyed a crisply floral Rueda Verdejo (£26). The room is a pleasure to be in. It all depends on whether you like your food super-interesting or nice but dull. Nice is nice.”
Hansen moved to London when she was 22. Her first job was as a dishwasher at the French House Dining Room in Soho.
In 2012, she cycled from London to Paris to help raise funds to end child hunger. In the same year she was awarded an MBE for services to the restaurant industry.
Original article by David Sexton, Evening Standard, September 23, 2015.
Photo by Daniel Hambury.