I was very pleased when my friend Katie suggested The Pantry as a possible venue for our girls lunch. The Pantry, a relatively new kid on the Stockbridge block, made it onto my hit list after a number of fellow foodies noted that it was an excellent lunch option, known for serving fresh, locally sourced food.
The general criteria for a successful girls lunch is good food, a great atmosphere and bountiful wine supplies. This time round we were keen to lunch in a BYOB restaurant to save the coffers just a little bit – another tick for the Pantry.
And so it was on a (relatively) sunny Saturday that four girls took their seats in the lovely light and airy Pantry. I must mention at this point that I was feeling a slightly embarrassed and a little amused about the the quantity of wine we had plonked onto our table. You see The Pantry was awash with Stockbridge families out for coffee and cake, nice couples having lunch washed down with healthy bottles of water and lots of very cute babies. What is was not awash with was groups of girls about to pop the cork on a few bottles of Prosecco, in fact we were actually the only people who were drinking.
We soon forgot about offending the cake eating community of Stockbridge after the first glass was sunk and we concentrated on the food. The menu is made up of some tasty brunches and breakfasts, light bites and some more substantial additions.
Fond of ‘dibbly dabs’ we decided to select a few light bites to start of with, before moving on to a more substantial main course. We ordered BEETROOT TATIN, CORN FRITTERS WITH SPICY TOMATO CHUTNEY and some CRISPY PORK BELLY.
The corn fritters were fantastic and my only regret was that we didn’t order more of them – a lot more of them. They were beautifully crisp on the outside and soft and flavoursome on the inside and sadly they were gone in seconds.
The Beetroot Tatin was made up of very delicately slices of layered beetroot and looked very pretty on the plate. I am a bit of a fan of beetroot so what was there not to like? The flavouring was very delicate and I may have drowned it with liberal gulps of prosecco (shame on me)
The crispy pork was the most controversial part of the meal as it was not really what any of us expected. It came as very large triangles of very very crispy crackling. I actually liked the taste and crunched my way through one of the big triangles but it was not the highlight of the day – that was still to come!
Move over ‘dibbly dabs’, the main courses were undoubtedly the highlight of the meal!
A good substantial portion of SAUSAGE AND MASH for Rhian, KOHLRABI AND SHRIMP SALAD for me and for Kate and Cat KEDGEREE & EGGS BENEDICT WITH SMOKED SALMON which they chose to share (fickle creatures found it hard to choose!)
My salad was fresh and tasty. Kohlrabi was new to me. It looked like a close relative of cucumber but it is in fact closer to the cabbage family – it was interesting and I liked it. Nestling on top of the Kohlrabi were a cluster of little brown shrimps which were juicy and bursting with flavour – again this was a first for me and an experience I would love to repeat. Next in this rustically layered salad came ….. well the salad, which included lots of peppery rocket tossed in a beautiful dressing which made a path all the way through the dish. It was lush.
My dining companions all loved their respective main courses, especially the mash, which we all had a good taste of. I have no idea why this mash was so damned good – it just was. The kedgeree was really smoky and the fact that it was from good quality (non coloured) fish was obvious. The Eggs Benedict was an impressive looking beast and although I didn’t taste it myself it definitely got the thumbs up.
The rest of the crew were very good and resisted a third course but this sugar lovin’ blogger was powerless to the lure of a flour-less chocolate cake perched on the counter, I swear it spoke to me. My light salad had left plenty of room for such indulgence, and indulge I did. It was absolutely divine, bitter sweet and gooey in all the right places.
So a few pleasant hours later, four every so slightly giggly girls waved goodbye to the Pantry to go and find Cocktails (a story in itself for another time).
The Pantry was a lovely venue, the food was excellent, the staff friendly and the prices reasonable. For our feast we paid around £15 each. I will definitely be back although I think next time I will take B and mini grumbling tummy and perhaps ditch the wine.
- Girls, Fizz and The Pantry (thegrumblingtummy.org)