Pantry at 108 in Marylebone
After a refurbishment, the newly created Pantry at 108 Marylebone Lane – just minutes away from Marylebone Village at the back of the Marylebone Hotel – claims to serve the best afternoon tea in London. With the likes of Bea’s of Bloomsbury, Claridge’s, Fortnum and Mason and countless others to complete with, this is clearly a bold claim. Open since March, the Pantry is a charming, modern interpretation of a traditional English tea house, combining regal Edwardian-inspired furnishings with a contemporary menu worthy of a boutique central London hotel.
One such modernisation is the inclusion of a gluten free version of the classic afternoon tea fare – rather than reinventing the timeless tradition of taking tea, the coeliac-friendly alternative cleverly simply uses gluten-free ingredients to recreate impressive favourites of finger sandwiches, scones and desserts. In fact, the ‘Healthy’ menu is also lower in both dairy and sugar, making it great for those looking for a slightly lighter, yet still indulgent menu. Both the ‘Healthy’ and ‘Classic’ versions start with dainty finger sandwiches, with robust flavours and fresh ingredients (alongside a Superfood Salad of Pomegranate, Feta, Quinoa and Edamame Beans and a spoonful of metabolism-starting Spiced Chickpea with Mozzarella for an extra health kick). Scones were also well made, with both highly risen and with a soft, fluffy interior which welcomes the decadent clotted cream and strawberry jam with open arms.
Aside from a slightly dry brownie, the dessert elements were beautifully made, with both the Walnut Cake and Berry Tart strong contenders for the best cake of all. The Walnut Cake was both light in texture and wonderfully nutty without being overpowering, whilst the Berry Tart combined wonderful English strawberries, blueberries and raspberries with a crispy tart base, united harmoniously by a heavenly crème anglaise. However, the winning cake was a delightful take on the quintessentially British Victoria sponge – an impossibly light cake, soft enough to cut through like butter with a teaspoon, topped with yet more fresh strawberries.
Desserts seem to be the forte of Pantry at 108, which also serves imaginative creations such as Banana and Butterscotch Cake, Fig and Almond Tart and a slices of Egg Custard with Pistachio, adorned with pomegranate jewels. For patrons with less of a sweet tooth, the light lunch menu echoes the healthy vibe of 108 Marylebone Lane (which also includes a ‘juicery’ serving detox-friendly concoctions) with expertly cooked dishes with simple and clean flavours. A tart of Blue Cheese, Artichoke and Sprouting Broccoli, for example, presents a great palate full of the flavours of early spring alongside a side of cress, parsley and caper. Even the stodgy-sounding Guinness bread is pleasantly light, with a molasses-like sweetness rather than a denseness which is associated with stout.
Whether it’s for a charming afternoon tea experience with an innovative allergy-friendly update, or a simple, well executed lunch, the Pantry at 108 is well worth a visit – catch up over a glass of English Nyetimber sparkling wine and immerse yourself in the nouveau-Edwardian glamour.
Pantry at 108: 47/60
To book a table at Pantry at 108, 108 Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2QE please call 020 7969 3900 or visit here