Moving into the space left by the Modern Pantry is a bold move.
No matter what, the food is always going to be compared to Anna Hansen’s. And Anna Hansen was incomparably good. So it seems like a bit of a lose-lose situation.
Unlllllless you’re Compton. Because this smart all-day eatery seems to have pulled off the remarkable trick of being good enough in every respect to stand firmly on its own two feet, and refuse to have its identity defined by a restaurant that doesn’t exist anymore.
You’ll find it in the picturesque enclave of St John’s Square in Clerkenwell, with its beautiful cobbles, and its mix of both ancient & modern buildings, easily commingling timeworn stone with stylish glass & steel. The restaurant itself is a modestly sized L-shaped dining room, with a bar on one arm & a longer stretch of tables occupying the other, all wrapped up by blush pink walls. Oh, and that square its sitting on gives ample room for a terrace, with up to 30 people, more than doubling the restaurants footprint in the warmer months.
The kitchen commanders bravely stepping into Anna Hansen’s shoes are Executive Chef Michael Shaw (Trinity) and Head Chef Sam Monastyrskyj (Bingham Riverhouse, The Hand & Flowers). Together, they’ve put together a menu of simple bistro style numbers, with mostly simple dishes executed extremely well. A simple seared tuna loin with sesame & pear; hand-cut beef tartare with pickled walnut & beef fat croutons; a plate of hand-rolled pappardelle with asparagus, broad beans & ricotta – they’re all treated with sincere love, and the result show on the plate.
That bar is shaking up cocktails (try their Paloma, it’s deeply refreshing) and there’s a short list of well-sourced wines, too. And if you find yourself in the area at around breakfast time? They’ll furnish you with some sourdough pancakes, a little shakshuska, or a full English with maple-cured bacon. It even serves as a coffee shop and a deli too, if you want to take away some of their breads, cured meats, and cheeses.
You might even call it a modern pantry of sorts.
NOTE: Compton is open now, Monday to Saturday. You can find out more, and book a table at the website right here.
Compton | 47-48 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, EC1V 4JJ
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