The Modern Pantry, comprising upstairs and downstairs restaurant space as well as a shop/pantry, is neatly ensconced in two elegant Georgian properties on St Johns Square in Clerkenwell, London.
The Modern Pantry, comprising upstairs and downstairs restaurant space as well as a shop/pantry, is neatly ensconced in not one but two elegant Georgian properties on St Johns Square in Clerkenwell, London. The Grade II-listed buildings were close to derelict when renowned chef Anna Hansen first came across them, spotting their potential as a home for The Modern Pantry.
Extensive work was then done to convert and link the properties – one was a townhouse while the other formed part of an adjacent steel foundry – into a light and airy restaurant.
The style is contemporary with a homely, almost folksy, vibe, designed to complement Hansen’s culinary mission: ‘to please the palate by using traditional and modern ingredients in new and exciting ways.’ Situated on the ground floor, the glass-fronted café / restaurant is the most casual dining space featuring furniture designed by Jump Studios. Smaller tables have lathe-turned pedestal bases with smooth tops engraved with Modern Pantry cooking utensil motifs, designed by London-based graphics studio Hyperkit. The white furniture matches the dove grey colour of the walls and pillars while brickwork was deliberately left exposed to reveal a bit of history. Brown leather banquette seating runs the length of the restaurant and light comes in the form of copper pendants – reminiscent of Victorian copper cooking pots and vessels but with a 21st century twist.
The pantry, meanwhile, is decked out like an old-fashioned traiteur but has contemporary touches like bespoke shelving. Situated in the old townhouse part of the building, it can be accessed via a separate doorway to the side of the restaurant. Upstairs there are two further dining rooms with beautiful views over St Johns Square. Here the design is slightly more formal. The furniture is made of black stained ash – including tables designed by Jump Studios and set against light grey walls and original wood paneling, carefully brought back to life.
The artwork was sourced by Hansen herself along with a mixed array of crockery, candelabras and other antique objects that reinforce the characterful, domestic Modern Pantry aesthetic. The facade of The Modern Pantry was restored to show off the Georgian architecture in all its glory, with long vertical glazing panels modeled on the old shop front to the side of the ground floor restaurant and a more traditional shop window for the pantry next door. In keeping with tradition, all the exterior signage was hand signed.